: News

Streetcars Resurrected In D.C., Elsewhere

Play associated audio

By David Schultz

D.C. is showing off one of its brand new streetcars in a vacant parking lot downtown. People can climb aboard the huge red, yellow and gray vehicles, hop in the driver's seat and pretend.

"Take us to Benning Road!" one person says.

D.C. is the latest city to built a modern streetcar network. They're already up and running in Tampa, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

Earl Blumenauer, a Democratic Congressman from Portland, says there's a reason streetcars are now back in vogue - cities have discovered they're magnets for development.

"We've had over $3 billion along our initial streetcar line," Blumenauer says. "And, for a little city like Portland, that's big money."

Gabe Klein, the director of D.C.'s Department of Transportation, agrees.

"I would say it's absolutely as much about economic development as it is about transportation."

Klein says, while buses are just as, if not more, efficient than streetcars, streetcars are better at spurring economic growth.

"It's perceived very differently by developers and investors, and they look at that as permanent," he says. "Buses, psychologically, they just don't see it that way."

The first streetcar lines will be on H Street and Benning Road in Northeast, and along on Martin Luther King Avenue near the Anacostia River. They'll start running in early 2012.

NBC4 Video:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

NPR

Under The Streets Of Naples, A Way Out For Local Kids

A priest in Naples' tough Sanità neighborhood has put local kids — some from mob families — to work restoring underground catacombs full of early Christian art. The result? 40,000 tourists a year.
NPR

Tasting With Our Eyes: Why Bright Blue Chicken Looks So Strange

The color of food can affect how we perceive its taste, and food companies aren't afraid to use that to their advantage. An artist tests perceptions by dousing familiar foods with unorthodox colors.
NPR

Holy Bible Could Become Louisiana's Official Book

Lawmakers have proposed a bill that would make the Bible the state's official book, but critics say it is unconstitutional and would open Louisiana up to legal challenges.
NPR

When Parents Are The Ones Too Distracted By Devices

Parents often complain that smartphones keep their kids distracted from conversation. What happens when it's the other way around, when kids can't get their smartphone-glued parents' attention?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.