Trouble on the Tracks Vol. 8 and 9 – Rough Night for the Streetcar on H Street


Earlier Saturday night we heard about the poor parking job/streetcar collision. Turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg. @WillCThomas tweeted us the photo above:

“@PoPville powered down streetcar, a few cops, and some disabled cars at H & 12th NE. Any idea what’s going on?”

@alanhenney tweeted:

“**D.C. STREET CAR ON FIRE** 13th and H Sts NE. This is electrical on top. Conductor unable to exit thru door, using window. TOI: 11:45 p.m”

@DCHarvest tweeted another photo of a different collision:

“Uh oh! 5th & H. Rough day for streetcar.”

In an either laugh or cry situation might as well laugh – @HeidiObermeyer tweeted us the photo below:

“Street car caught fire near h & 12- @queenvicdc plays ring of fire by Johnny cash.”


41 Comment

  • Here is the radio call where the streetcar operator call it in. Maybe it was sparking from the wet conditions?

    Maybe it is good they are not operational yet:

  • brookland_rez

    Could this be why it hasn’t passed its safety certification yet?

  • brookland_rez

    This street car debacle is gone from ridiculous to insane. I supported them in the beginning, but the way DDOT has implemented them has been a disaster. Such an embarrassment. Overall I think DDOT has done a good job with the roads in the city. They’ve fixed the 295/395 bridge disaster, redone a lot of the major corridors with improvements, etc. But this street car is really turning into a black eye for the agency.

  • And, this is way Arlington put a lid on the street car project. Waste of money…

    • Too bad DC leaders present and former are/were too proud to admit their plans were flawed and too inept to realize the need to cut the cord on expansion plans. Only Barry was adamant about the serious flaws with this project but no one listened to him.

      Good to see DC residents are beginning to realize they’ve been conned by Wells, Catania, Cheh and Gray, and their partners.

  • DDOT Requests Top-To-Bottom Review For D.C. Streetcar After Series Of Delays
    Grand opening unlikely before May

  • Brooklyn Brawler

    Glad the operator was able to escape without injury. But damn, having to climb out of the window because the doors wouldn’t open is scary!

    I live on H Street and I had faith with the cars but not anymore. During the summer I casually asked neighbors what would happen to the cars during lighting, snow, bad weather—-guess we have our answer.

  • time to cancel the program. Streetcars are an outdated 100 year old model. I don’t think we are ever going to see the H st street car operational fully. And it won’t matter. Horrible execution and another Mayor G legacy project

  • Instead of the street car, DDOT should implement a circulator route to h st. Maybe expanding the one that goes to Union Station?

  • Have you asked why just about every other country on the planet can manage streetcars and depend on them?

    • +1

      Any comments about this initial line being scrapped are nuts. Metro and the roads have been shut down also in this terrible weather.

      I do think they may move sooner rather than later to take away street parking on H. Which is a huge positive!

      • Uh oh. You are going to make the car folks really mad now.

        • If you eliminate parking on H St. the “car folks” are not going to get “really mad” – they just won’t go to any performances at Atlas or dine in any restaurants on H St. I’m a big fan of public transportation, but to go from Columbia Heights to a show at Atlas would take me 2 trains + bus (or streetcar – if ever) and easily an hour in transit on a weekend. I went to a show a couple of weeks ago on Sunday, with a friend who drove in from Arlington. Public transit for her would be 2 hours. We both drove, parked, ate dinner, enjoyed the show and spent a lot. No parking = we go to any of the many other performance spaces & restaurants.

          • Let’s not be overly dramatic, eliminating parking on H St is not the same as eliminating all parking in the area. It’s taking away a very small percentage of the spots in the neighborhood, but making other modes of transportation more functional so likely shunting some drivers onto other ways of getting there so there are fewer cars from outside the neighborhood looking for spots.

          • I barely ever find spots RIGHT on H st, I usually park on side streets. Also hate parking on H bc of the streetcars. It really wouldn’t make THAT big of an impact, in my opinion…

            Also maybe some more garages could be built to add some spots back

          • I am always irritated by the lack of garage space on H. I have friends from beyond the beltway that prefer to visit Chinatown on the weekends because then they will easily find a garage spot. Hopefully some of they new buildings on H create garages with day spots.

          • You honestly would not come to H Street if you couldn’t park right on H? That’s like saying I refuse to go to U St unless I can park right on U. I think it’s the H St residents would have a tougher time if they didn’t have off-street parking since all the weekenders would be taking up more residential parking.
            It would be great if we could ban parking on H and convince neighborhood churches to rent out their parking lots on nights and weekends (except when there is service). There seems to be a ton of unused parking space that goes to waste because churches sit on it.

          • brookland_rez

            Catch a cab.

          • I am on H, but my friends with cars prefer more car friendly neighborhoods. Parking on H is not the issue. The side streets are the problem. The should remove RPP for any one within two blocks of H. These blocks could be metered.

          • tonyr

            What’s this two trains deal? Yellow/Green to Gallery Place and then the often-lovely X2. Or get off at U Street and take one of the 90s.

    • Stop! Logic does not help the situation!!! It just makes the city look worse. Please switch to fatalism, thank you.

    • Have you ever asked why so many places have discontinued using them? Have you ever asked if it was prudent that a city that is full of incompetent employees should even try something like this? It is a boondoggle for taxpayers. Take a note from Arlington and shut this sucker down.

  • I was walking by and took this video

  • DDOT is their own worst enemy, and best friend of all the anti-streetcar folks in DC. I mean, you know your program is fubar when a neighboring jurisdiction has to spend millons on a PR campaign to assuage peoples fears and show them how their system would be different…only to cancel it later.

    There is currently little to none political will in the city to expand the system, and considering how angry the business community on H Street has been with the bungled approach, and being 6 years late, I give the chances of getting any more streetcars at about 1 in ten.

    • H street business owners have been quoted in recent articles as supportive of the streetcar. They just want the darn thing to start carrying passengers!

  • These things don’t usually happen to regular ole buses and Circulators. Kill the streetcar and boost bus service.

  • The technology is not the problem the mismanagement at Ddot as well as zero oversight by the DC Council’s Transportation Committee. Ironic that Bowser is all upset now with the Streetcar/Ddot despite there being the same magnitude of problems when she say on the Transportation Committee?

    • Cheh is chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee, not Bowser. Wells was chair prior to Cheh. Bowser has never been chair of any Transportation Committee with oversight of DDOT.

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