Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, June 07, 2013

The other reason this old Capital Transit map is cool

The copy of this 1946 map I have is sadly, very very ratty, full of holes. But hopefully I will replace it with a better copy later.

The cool thing about this portion of the map that I have shown is that it depicts service to Rosslyn, Virginia being provided via the DC streetcar network.

This is an issue with the current "premium" transit service planning initiative underway covering the area from Union Station to Georgetown.   The planning effort doesn't seem to raise a connection to the Rosslyn Metro Station as an element, even though Circulator service does dip into Rosslyn now.  (Starting in 2006, I suggested that streetcar planning and Circulator service include Rosslyn.)

Back then, the DC streetcar lines, except for the 82/84 serving Rhode Island Avenue in Prince George's County and the 20 line serving the Glen Echo Amusement Park, pretty much terminated in DC. The streetcar lines serving Wisconsin Avenue and Connecticut Avenue stopped at the Maryland border. So did the line on Georgia Avenue.  (A branch of this line also went to Takoma DC, ending at 4th and Butternut Streets, about one block from the old train station.)

Right: the Capital Transit maps in the 1940s had more interesting coloration than later maps.  This section of the map shows service in Downtown.

In 1946, the Rosslyn service was provided by the 10 line, which served H Street, starting from Deanwood. According to a comment made at the H Street planning sessions in 2002, back then you could get to Rosslyn from H Street in 15 minutes by streetcar.

As various streetcar lines were abandoned, Rosslyn service was provided by different lines, including the 20 line (which went to Glen Echo) and the 80 line (which then terminated in Brookland). 

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At 10:20 AM, Anonymous rg said...

I LOVE those old transit maps. It is interesting to see how some routes have not really changed that much and to see how other routes were tweaked. It would be interesting to study whether discontinuation of the 40 was somehow related to the inferiority of bus service versus streetcar service. In other words, did ridership drop because the bus service was less dependable or less comfortable, or both? Did bustitution make it difficult to maintain headways on a route stretching from Mount Pleasant to Lincoln Park? Also, it is so sad that DC is now spending tens of millions of dollars to rebuild a perfectly good streetcar line that provided a fifteen minute trip between H Street and Georgetown. Kind of like how LA spent/is spending hundreds of millions building light rail lines on old Pacific Electric routes that were torn out in the early 60s (Blue Line to Long Beach and Expo Line to Santa Monica.)

At 6:30 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Very good point about the waste in rebuilding and recreating what we had.

wrt the 42, I don't know where I have it, but the first Capital/DC Transit map I acquired from from around 1961 (it didn't have a date), I picked it up an estate sale in Takoma Park. I think the 42 ran until almost the very end (probably because of the trolley barn on East Capitol). Some day I'll find that map in all my stuff (too, I have an almost complete set of transit passes from one year as well).

I intend to write about how we should do transpo history interpretation generally, but at the turnaround shelters that still exist on CT Ave. and 14th Street specifically.

At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You walked, from National to Capitol Hill??? With your suitcase? How did you get across the river?

I missed the last bus from Knollwood (Oregon and Nebraska) at 9:00 pm on Tuesday eve, so decided to stay late. Walked from there down to UDC and hopped on an L2 bus to the end at Farragut Square and walked home from there.

As I strolled eastward, I ran into several clusters of team-t-shirted kickballers/softballers blearily trying to find their cars, hail a cab or clumsily checking their cells to see if there was a last Metro. At the stroke of midnight, I rounded the corner at 17th and G Streets just in time to witness MPD's finest closing down the outdoor beerfest at the Exchange bar (the seeming source of the wandering drinkers) on G Street. It must have been loud enough for Barck and Michelle to hear it. ; ^ )

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

More than 20 years ago, I saw a movie at the Avalon and decided to walk down Connecticut. At Cleveland Park I decided to take the Metro...

But yes, when you do stuff like that you get a different perspective.

Anyway, there is a connection to the Mount Vernon Trail over the 14th Street bridge, to the left of the Jefferson Memorial. I just took the trail to the 14th St. bridge crossing, and then walked up to Independence Ave. I could have taken a bus up the street, but I just missed it.

I did discover that 15th St. in the vicinity of the Jefferson Memorial has been resurfaced. It's much nicer than it was.

At 9:45 AM, Anonymous rg said...

I think that even after streetcar service ended, there was a "40" bus that ran between Lincoln Park and Mount Pleasant. I remember as recently as the late 90s, some of the Metrobus signs on East Capitol Street listed the 96 and the 40, even though there was no 40 bus by then. If I had all the time in the world, I would live to track ridership and operations on that route from 1955 to its demise and see what happened after bustitution.

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Richard Layman said...

The 42 maintained its route until one of the bus route changes in the 1990s. I almost lived in a group house served by the 42 between 8th St. and Stanton Park. The 42 went to Adams Morgan the 96 to the same place, so they ended up deciding to merge the routes.

Ed Tennyson, former Dep. Director of Penn DOT, gets quoted from time to time in Dr. Gridlock and he has made the verysame point that you have wrt post ridership after conversion of streetcar lines to buses.


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