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Should D.C.'s new streetcar system be run on overhead wires?

The District is putting down the first miles of track for a planned 37-mile streetcar network, a throwback of a kind popping up in many cities that advocates hope will bring back Washington's still-languishing neighborhoods.

But what if the next catalyst of Washington's rebirth leaves a blot on the cityscape? The streetcars envisioned by D.C. planners -- and the first three they've purchased -- are powered by overhead electrical wires. Read the full article.

By Jodi Westrick  |  April 6, 2010; 8:39 AM ET  | Category:  Local Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Overhead wires are music to my lungs! And to my ears -- the electric motor of a streetcar is WAY quieter than the intenral combustion engine roar of a bus.

Hundreds of cities around the world have streetcar systems with overhead wires. Many of them are beautiful, historic cities with lovely vistas that are visited by tens of millions of tourists each year and that benefit from streetcar systems that use overhead wires.

Prague
Budapest
Viennna
Munich
Zurich
Basel
Geneva
Berlin
Cologne
Brussels
Antwerp
Ghent
Amsterdam
Paris
Lyon
Marseille
Nice
Orleans
Strasbourg
Milan
Florence
Barcelona
Bilbao
Porto
Lisbon
Dublin
Melbourne
Saint Petersburg
Portland
Boston
Toronto
Philadelphia

You get the point......

Posted by: rg12 | April 6, 2010 9:27 AM

I think the grime covering our beautiful buildings--grime from the exhaust belched out by all the vehicles on the road--is an eyesore. I'll take overhead wires any day. I've visited several beautiful cities that have streetcar networks with overhead wires, and my impression was, what a beautiful city, and how easy it is to get around and explore it!

Posted by: ef17 | April 6, 2010 10:23 AM

RG12 pretty much said it all.

Posted by: janelkb | April 6, 2010 10:55 AM

RG12: You forgot Seattle. :) We've had a modern streetcar line running since December 2007, and the mayor just submitted his alignment recommendation for our next one to City Council. It's scheduled to open in 2013. I love riding the streetcar. It is SO much better than a bus! Quiet, smooth ride, no emissions, easy getting on and off, and unlike our buses it announces all the stops automatically, and the stops tell you when the next one is coming. Streetcars rock.

Posted by: JonSM99 | April 6, 2010 1:42 PM

Why not solar powered and/or rechargable battery driven buses??? Why not let private enterprise tackle this issue??? Phase out the diesel buses and replace witrh electric. This entire proposal makes no sense to me in terms of cost/benefit, the enviroment, and politically.

Posted by: rhoner | April 6, 2010 2:41 PM

Finally a taste of home!

Posted by: sasmontagova | April 8, 2010 8:47 AM

RG12, how could you get "Orleans" but forget "New Orleans?" Laissez les bon temps roullez!

Posted by: unclezeke1 | April 8, 2010 11:37 AM

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