City Paper is not for tourists
The hapless H Street streetcar almost certainly won’t open this year, but the streetcar is good at one thing: messing up cars that tangle with it (see above)! Using a Freedom of Information Act request, LL has the details on the year in streetcar collisions.
If anything, LL was surprised that the streetcar doesn’t hit cars more often. Of the six incidents in the District Department of Transportaton’s files, only three of them were blamed on the streetcar operator. (The reports don’t cover the streetcar’s run-in with a Metrobus last month.)
Some other takeaways from the crash reports:
Snow and the Streetcar
The white paint that’s meant to separate the streetcar track from on-street parking shows drivers if they’re over the line, but it’s just as important for the streetcar operators who are deciding whether they’re about to clip a mirror. This system threatens to break down, according to the reports, when bad weather makes it harder to see the line.
Two of the collisions blamed on streetcar operators both occurred on Feb. 21, when winter snow covered up the line. The casualties were initially two car mirrors, but the streetcar got its own injuries when one of the car’s drivers tried to pull out after the collision and scratched up the streetcar instead.
Don’t Mess with the Streetcar
The other streetcar-related collisions of the year involved drivers running into the H Street trolley. No one appears to have gotten it worse, though, than the driver of the above Lincoln Town Car, who threw open his car door seconds before the streetcar passed by. While the Lincoln’s door was nearly taken off, the car door put cracks in one of the streetcar’s windows.
A Streetcar Named Suspension Without Pay
The harshest streetcar discipline was handed out to a streetcar operator who hit a Metropolitan Police Department car that was parked over the line. The collision earned the streetcar employee a five-day suspension without pay.
Photo courtesy DDOT