The Washington Post published an editorial today calling on the D.C. government and opponents of overhead streetcar wires to reach a “reasonable compromise” so that streetcars can proceed. It goes on to state that: “A good place to start is with the reasonable suggestion by Gabe Klein, the city’s transportation chief, to use a hybrid system that allows overhead wires in some areas but still respects the city’s capital views.” Unfortunately, one of two groups opposing overhead streetcar wires — the Committee of 100 on the Federal City — has demonstrated that it is unwilling to compromise. It passed a resolution in late 2009 calling on the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to conduct multiple studies while indicating that the group will oppose overhead wires regardless of what those studies might find. The Capitol Hill Restoration Society, the other organization that has raised concerns about overhead streetcar wires, also passed a resolution around the same time calling on DDOT to study alternative power sources.
The D.C. Council will likely have to intervene in the months ahead to ensure that D.C. law supports the type of “reasonable compromise” DDOT is proposing — and the Washington Post now publicly supports — so that streetcars can proceed. The Post editorial supports Councilmember Tommy Wells’ contention that “the degradation to the environment is worse from cars on the road than from some unobtrusive overhead wires” and one can only hope that his colleagues on the Council will view the issue the same way and permit streetcars to move forward without further delay.