Why I Fear D.C.’s Leadership Is Not Up to the Task

First, some context:

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At least, when it comes to transportation, the kids are alright. At the same time in D.C., it looks like the city’s streetcar program is in trouble. It might not even happen, never mind expand and grow. If the city is truly committed to ‘livability’ and Walk Zero (no killings of pedestrians by drivers), then it’s going to need more mass transit. That is the future. Yet when you look at the problems the streetcar is currently facing, none of them are unsolvable–it’s not as if the electric-powered streetcar is a new technology:

Unresolved FTA safety recommendations issued to DDOT:

Recommendation 3: The integrated schedule should accurately address all major project activities leading into revenue service.
Recommendation 13: The District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services (D.C. FEMS) should communicate the State Safety Oversight Agency (SSOA) requirements to the DDOT, including scheduling and conducting the pre-revenue assessment.
Recommendation 19: The DDOT should ensure that all Standard Operating Procedures are comprehensive and finalized prior to revenue operations.
Recommendation 20: The DDOT should develop training curriculum and criteria for the D.C. Streetcar control center employees and maintenance personnel.
Recommendation 21: Simulated service, pre-revenue operations, and elements subject to retesting should be sufficiently described and scheduled.
Recommendation 22: The DDOT should specify a process supporting certification of public outreach events in their public outreach plan.
Recommendation 24: As part of the Operating Hazard Analysis (OHA), the DDOT should conduct diagnostic evaluations of the alignment with city traffic engineers and other experts to determine possible mitigations related to the interaction of the streetcars with vehicular traffic.

Other than the last recommendation, these are managerial and planning issues. Fix them.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Mayor Bowser is blessed with an excess of competency or a commitment to public transportation.

Guess we’ll just party like it’s 1999….

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