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