Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tommy Wells: Council approves emergecy legislation to allow wires for H Street streetcar line

Good news from Tommy Wells office: The Council moved the bill that was the subject of last week's hearing unanimously earlier today.

Council Approves Legislation for Streetcar Power Technology: Allows Aerial Streetcar Wires on H Street / Benning Road; Creates Clear Planning Process for Additional Segments

On Tuesday, June 29, 2010, the Council of the District of Columbia approved emergency legislation to allow streetcars on H Street and Benning Road NE to move forward with an overhead wire power source and create a public process to approve the power source for other streetcar segments within the proposed system. The Council will vote on a permanent version of the legislation on July 13, 2010.

“This bill will allow the city to better connect our neighborhoods with the next generation of public transportation,” commented Wells.

In addition to allowing aerial wires to power streetcars on H Street and Benning Road NE, the legislation accomplishes several things:

•Repeals the 1888 & 1889 law and re-establishes the provisions as local law.

•Preserves the aerial wire ban in neighborhoods like historic Capitol Hill and Georgetown, and requires that the Mayor must develop subsequent segment plans, subject to review and Council approval, for the use of aerial wires for any additional streetcar routes with written evaluation to the visual impact on Historic Districts.

•Outlines clear prohibitions to powering streetcars by aerial wires in areas surrounding the National Mall and adjacent federal monuments.

•Requires the Mayor to submit a report to Council at regular intervals, on the feasibility of converting to non-aerial power where any aerial wiring has been installed.

•Creates authority for the Mayor -- and a process for public review -- to allow aerial wires deemed necessary to power streetcars beyond a strictly defined H Street and Benning Road NE segment.

“Today’s action brings local control and accountability to the District as it continues the development of the streetcar transportation system to better connect neighborhoods and support local economic development,” added Wells.

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