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“Why the Streetcar will never work”

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“Dear PoPville,

An incident yesterday (Sunday) morning perfectly summed up why the H-street Streetcar will never work. I’m coming out of Bullfrog Bagels with my son and heading back to our car on H street. I see that right around our car, idling in the right-hand lane (East-bound), is the Streetcar. Why? Because in the parking lane, just in front of our car, is a poorly-parked car with a side-view window that will be hit by the passing Streetcar. So the Streetcar has radio’d for a tow truck. But where’s a tow truck on Sunday morning? 5, 10-plus minutes later, no tow truck. And meanwhile others coming out from Bullfrog Bagels are finding they are blocked in by the Streetcar. Can’t do anything. The Streetcar blocks in some 5-6 cars. To say nothing of the fact it blocks the whole right traffic lane. Fortunately, I had just enough room to make my escape.

I have no idea how much longer everybody had to wait around. But this episode to me proves that the Streetcar has a fundamental design flaw. It’s clearly too much to ask that the average citizen park perfectly along H street all the time. And it’s clearly too much to ask that DC always have a tow truck just ready to tow, all the time. And if you can’t guarantee these two things, you have an unbearably slow bus-on-rails that temporarily blocks both the right lane and half a dozen cars. It just doesn’t work. The whole thing should be scrapped and the money earmarked for it in 2016 should be spent on a third-party deep dive audit that explains all the ways that DC messed it up, but with an eye towards how to avoid these kind of decisional mistakes in the future.”

Is it possible people will learn to park better?

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