Another Streetcar involved Accident on H Street, NE

Photo used with permission by [email protected]

Just after 8:20pm @burgessev tweeted the above accident on H Street, NE just east of 14th Street. This follows this weekend’s streetcar involved accident at 6th and H St, NE. Updates when more info is known particularly if these recent incidents push passenger service past the anticipated launch during the week of Jan. 19th.

47 Comment

  • What do they expect building a streetcar in a lane meant for cars? And especially when so many people use said lane to double park.

  • I almost got mowed down by a scooter exiting a streetcar in Amsterdam, and it had a special partionioned lane! This design is so horribly designed it must be scrapped! Or better yet just ban cars and trucks along that corridor. What a nice esplanade it’d be then! Think of of the Nice like cafes……

    • It’d be great to have more car-less zones in the city. It’s amazing how much quieter an area is when there are no cars running.

      • That would be awesome! It would completely transform the corridor. But, where would all those insane Maryland drivers coming off of the 295/ Benning Road go? My bet is that they end up speeding through the surrounding neighborhoods instead – not cool.

        • down my street (K), which is where a lot of them already go. once that second outbound lane becomes no parking at 4pm the nice, quiet street turns into a MD-bound shitshow for a couple of hours.

        • Time for a toll on Benning and 295. Maybe EZPass only?

        • Sadly they’re already doing this. I live on a relatively quiet numbered street in the H St Corridor and come rush hour it’s all MD plates flying from the stop sign to catch the light at the end of the block.

          • I live on East Cap and we get a ton of Maryland commuters.

            It’s very frustrating how DC transportation policy is geared towards accommodating commuters instead of the people who live here (e.g. reopening the SE Blvd. as a cut through so MD commuters don’t have to wait in line on the 11th Street Bridge).

            I’d LOVE to see car traffic on H Street reduced, cafes opened, street cars functioning – and other holes where commuter traffic slips through plugged up too!

      • DC could take a lesson from Cinque Terre too, cafes, trails, trains, and boats only. It was so nice to not hear the constant hum of car traffic.

    • Funny you mention Amsterdam street cars. I was driving there about a year back and came across some road construction in the driving lane. Big truck blocking the road and a cop waving me around to go up on the street car lane- which is apparently acceptable to use if passing road blockages, and for cabs to drive on. I can’t see so I start to go up and narrowly miss a head on collision w a street car trucking through at full speed. Would have been really ugly in my tiny rental Peugeot. Driving there was definitely an adventure.

  • They should have just added another DC Circulator bus. Thank God the city council defunded all future streetcar projects. I can’t stand the backup it causes each morning during rush hour.

    • Yep. There were no backups before the streetcar.

      • Great straw man, thunder! We’re discussing the streetcar here and how it has INCREASED traffic backups. When it gets stuck in the lane waiting for a tow truck to get a car out of the way, that means more people try to merge into the other lane which means more traffic and longer delays. It’s really quite simple.

        • It sounds like the increased delays are caused by people illegally parked, then, no?

          • So Michael you’re saying that it’s the streetcar’s fault and not the double parker’s? Even though if it was a bus and went around the double parker, said double parker would still be there, still forcing people to try to merge into the other lane which means more traffic and longer delays. It’s really quite simple.

            But ya know….logic

          • No–there is a difference. People always have double parked…it happens all over the city. What doesn’t happen, is a large passenger vehicle holding 20-30 people come to adult while a third vehicle is brought to the scene–which inevitably will cause it to block both lanes of traffic–to two the double parked car. If people like the streetcars, fine, but let’s not fool ourselves to think that they are more mobile and malleable to traffic than a passenger bus.

          • *sorry for the typos, my fingers don’t connect well with my iPad when it’s this cold.

          • justinbc

            Who ever on this blog has stated “they are more mobile and malleable to traffic than a passenger bus”? I’m pretty sure no one. The point they’re making is that this is the car operator’s fault (assuming this car was indeed double parked), and until car operators stop parking like idiots they shouldn’t complain when the streetcar hits them or slows down their progress. Be mad at the other car operators, not the streetcar.

          • Caleb, please explain, how in that same instance of a double parker there is not another vehicle brought to the scene-which inevitably will cause it to block both lanes of traffic–to tow the double parked car?

            You can complain all day that the streetcars will be less agile than a bus, but in the instance of a double parker they just sit there, blocking the same lane as the double parker has already blocked. Streetcars don’t add to traffic by being blocked, the blocker is the one causing the problem. Please stop falling for the bait and switch.

          • There has never been an aggressive effort to tow double parkers–I know they are in the wrong, I am not defending them. My point is that the streetcar can not move until the car does holding those 20-30 people in limbo; therefore, there is a more immediate need to tow the car. That brings the third vehicle, the tow truck to the scene. A bus, would just move around the situation. That is why, as Michael pointed out, they are causing an increase in traffic.

          • Thank you, Caleb, for making my point for me. I should clarify that the City Council didn’t defund all future streetcar projects but just reduced future funding out of the budget that passed last year. There’s still like half a billion dollars dedicated to more lines throughout the city. I hope the debacle that has been the H Street experiment serves as a lesson to all of those on the council moving forward.

  • If and when the streetcar does launch I’ll give it 90 days before this thing kills someone. DDOT obviously has no idea what they’re doing and a lot of folks here are just too unfamiliar and/or stupid to be able to navigate safely around streetcars.

    • justinbc

      It’s on a fixed track and moves relatively slow. If it kills someone I’m going to bet it’s that person’s fault, not the streetcar.

      • I will second that statement. If you get hit by a streetcar that goes 7 mph, then you sir deserve a Darwin award.

    • Accountering

      I will take that bet in a second. Agree with Justin below. The hysterics are a bit over the top, don’t you think?

    • Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?!?

    • If we avoided everything that could harm people who do stupid things, then I don’t think cars would have been invented… Agree with justin.

  • Seems like the streetcar operator should be cited for following too close and failure to stop in time.

  • I admit to not knowing the ins and outs of how a streetcar works, but these things have drivers right? Shouldn’t they be able to stop? Maybe this is just their way of scaring people into following the rules before things really get up and running.

  • The major issue at play is that there are a lot of people from the MD counties and car-dependent areas of the District that still drive in DC as if it’s the late 90s, prior to gentrification and massive population growth. They are butting heads with the newcomers who are demanding a slew of transportation alternatives like bike lanes, bike sharing, street car, dedicated bus lanes, car sharing, etc in conjunction with improved enforcement (ticketing cameras!) that has made driving much more difficult and expensive. Meanwhile, District politicians are caught in a bind by trying to placate both constituencies. The first constituency has been here the longest, reliably votes, and also make up the bulk of DC’s municipal employees. The second constituency is wealthy and young, but largely absent from the municipal political process and power levers. For decades, the car-dependent folks were able to find easy parking, double park whenever/wherever they wanted, and speed through the city quickly to their destination. The boom in population has taken away these privileges. Unfortunately, I think the mindset of “I can drive wherever, whenever I want” will take many years to change among people who do not live in the urban core.

  • All this street car talk is making me want to double park at Taylor Deli for a Callowhill hogie.

  • I wonder if they’ve built up a decent cache of spare parts for these streetcars, such as bumpers and body panels. It seems like something that they would’ve easily overlooked, as they’ve overlooked some much larger parts of the plan. And weren’t these cars bought years and years ago? Hopefully they aren’t nearing obsolescence yet.

  • Good lord, enough with the MD driver comments, its sooooo old. News flash, most DC drivers are terrible drivers in the city and even worse outside the city!

    That being said, it seems the streetcar has become a massive failure before it’s even open. Just imagine the BS lawsuits when it hits a car with actual riders on board!

    • Fail – “most DC drivers are terrible drivers.” Whatever. My commute takes me along H St every morning and evening and I will say from my personal observations that the impatient drivers that are darting in and out of traffic and squeezing between vehicles and the street car are almost always MD drivers. So yea, I’m going to continue my MD drivers rant.

      • +1

        MD drivers are the first to cut me off in the left lane and slam on their brakes, the first to speed up to run a red light, and 9 times out of 10 will fail to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

    • justinbc

      1) “most” … where are your stats?
      2) “terrible” … completely subjective to the viewer
      When ranting about other rants, at least try to stay constructive.

  • The more things change the more they stay the same. My mom grew up on H Street NE and in the fifties the streetcar ran into her car. H Street isn’t wide enough for both streetcars and regular cars. Streetcars should only be on wider streets like Pennsylvania Avenue.

  • This is old technology that is in wide use around the world. Give the operators enough hours under their belts, cars adequate time to get used to a new vehicle around them, and proper signage – even DC should be able to handle this.

    If places like Russia or Turkey (home to terrible drivers) can handle streetcars/light rail, we should adapt relatively quickly.

  • I know it is wrong (and I actually love cute old fashioned streetcars like the ones in SF and New Orleans) but every time I see one of these articles I’m like, I told you so! And, anything streetcars can do buses can do just as well. The “fixed investment lures development” doesn’t sing to me when the streetcar project cost so much and home prices around H are already soaring, and the “easier to learn route” arguments sound pretty weak.
    I bet if we had cute streetcars with wooden seats people would stop double parking ha ha.

  • I relocated to DC after living in Portland for six years, where streetcars shared traffic lanes with vehicles and I can’t recall a single streetcar-involved pedestrian or vehicle accident, stalled streetcars due to double-parking, etc. I’ve lived a block from H Street for the past two years – I have never seen another street where there is so much double-parking, entitled pedestrians jaywalking in the middle of the street, cars blowing through red lights, etc. So in my view, any potential problems involving streetcars are far less likely to stem from the streetcars, than from the existing H street driver-double parker-pedestrian ecosystem. That said, perhaps the constituents of that ecosystem will start paying attention to the streetcars and taking them more seriously when they are actually transporting people, as opposed to being interminably “tested.”

    • Recollection is not indicative of the fact that streetcar accidents happen in Portland as well. Not that it’s any reason to reject streetcars…there are many other reasons for that.

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