Housing Complex

Old Story: It’s Preservationists vs. Progressives on the Wires

Preserving what, exactly?

Preserving what, exactly?

The Post’s story this morning about opposition to overhead wires associated with the planned 37 miles of streetcar lines has caused consternation in transitland. BeyondDC railed:

The position of NCPC and the Committee of 100 really is mind-boggling…Do they think suburban-style auto repair and fast food shacks are beautiful? Is the strip-mall and asphalt character of suburban highways really their vision for what Washington’s central neighborhoods should be? The only other explanation for such dogmatic opposition to a plan that would help H Street redevelop into an actually beautiful urban place is mere kneejerk reactionism. When even sensible compromise solutions are disregarded, it raises the question of just what opponents are actually thinking.

Threads at Greater Greater Washington, Frozen Tropics, and a special comment forum set up by the Post teem with streetcar supporters outraged at the Capital Planning Commission and Committee of 100’s obstructionism. Even super-blogger Matt Yglesias weighed in, taking it aim at their claim to the label “preservationists.”

This has simply nothing to do with preservation. Nobody is talking about tearing down any buildings. And historically DC has been a city with streetcars. We’re “preserving” the post-1970 status quo. Whatever. The point is that we can have the debate in the city about whether or not creating a functional, high-performing modern transportation system is worth disturbing some random person’s aversion to any form of change but this just isn’t about historic preservation.

Streetcar proponents, who have been rebutting protests about the streetcar’s aesthetic impact for years now, must be scratching their heads that this is even still a discussion. After last fall's series of open houses, Gabe Klein is on the warpath again, barnstorming community meetings around the city. A big one is coming up on April 20, hosted by three ANCs and two councilmembers. Wonder if Meg Maguire will show her face.

Photo courtesy of the DDOT.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    i'm really ticked off that i'm going to be out of town on business that day. the april 20th meeting is right here in trinidad, a block from my house, and i would love ms. maguire and the rest of the committee of 100 to show up in our neighborhood and tell us that they're looking out for our best interests. sorry, but trinidad, H street, and the rest of the forgotten side of the city want more choices, we want growth, we want less vacant storefronts, and we want the benefits that will come from investment in our communities.

    if georgetown doesn't want this, fine. but keep the nimbyism to your well-defined neighborhood then.