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Archiving The Tragicomedy That is The H Street Streetcar

For the past few months, it's been difficult to look away from the colossal mess that has become of the H Street streetcar. To catch you up, there have been plans to install a streetcar on the 2.2-mile line between H Street NE and Benning Road NE for over five years now. The $160 million project was first proposed in 2003 in a draft of the Strategic Development Plan. Whether or not these plans will actually come to fruition is still debateable. Even former Council member Marion Barry described the streetcar as "ill-planned, ill-thought-out, ill-engineered, ill-everything."

Only a few months ago, D.C. Streetcar officials were "optimistically cautious" that the passenger service would open by the end of 2014 with the only issue holding them back being a final stage of testing with the State Safety Oversight Office. Previous D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said, "This process will not be a long one to complete" and set an opening date on the week of January 19, 2015, but lo and behold, the streetcar is still not open to the public.

Every year, the deadline has been pushed back from 2012 to 2013 to 2014 until DDOT Acting Director Leif Dormsjo had to say enough is enough with an end to "arbitrary deadlines." For now, Dormsjo said the streetcar could open any time between "two weeks, or two months, or two years." Currently, the DDOT is conducting a top-to-bottom review of the streetcar plan to see its strengths and weaknesses and finally iron out any issues that may cause it to open later it should.

While missing deadline after deadline certainly doesn't make the public any more confident in the streetcar, other issues that have arisen include the streetcar being involved in nine accidents since October 2014. While plans for the streetcar are going up in flames, the streetcar caught on fire as well on February 21, 2015. According to a November 2010 Washington Post article that is not available online, there have been issues as way back as 2010 when construction of the streetcar resulted in a 70 percent loss of sales to local businesses. To compensate the local business owners, City Council member Jim Graham had to establish a $7 million fund.

While you peruse our catalogue of everything wrong and ridiculous with the streetcar, please take a moment to listen to what might as well be the streetcar's theme song. Also, in case we have missed any incidents in our list, please feel free to add any links in the comments.

· 2003: First proposed in a draft Strategic Development Plan by previous D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams
· 2008: Extension of streetcar line to the Minnesota Avenue Metro station dropped
· 2007 to 2009: Original proposed dates for construction to begin and end
· November 2010: 70 percent decrease of sales to local business owners due to streetcar construction
· 2011: Missed deadline
· 2012: Missed deadline
· 2013: Missed deadline
· December 13, 2013: First streetcar placed on H Street line
· 2014: Missed deadline
· August 2014: Testing begins
· October 2014: Streetcar testing causes heavy traffic
· October 7, 2014: Car accident with 40-foot "rub mark" on streetcar (not at the fault of the streetcar)
· October 13, 2014: Car accident with a "hit and run side swipe" and broken mirror (not at the fault of the streetcar)
· November 2014: Multiple incomplete or incorrect submissions for a safety certification process sent to the District's Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department
· January 2015: Total of nine minor accidents since October 2014 (including car accidents in January)
· January 3, 2015: T-boning a car (not at the fault of the streetcar)
· January 7, 2015: Car accident (not at the fault of the streetcar)
· January 18, 2015: DDOT director announces there would be no more estimated dates of the streetcar's opening
· February 18, 2015: DDOT requests to conduct top-to-bottom review of streetcar plan
· January 19, 2015: Missed deadline
· January 20, 2015: Missed deadline
· February 21, 2015: Streetcar catches on fire
· February 21, 2015: Car accident (not at the fault of the streetcar)

· DDOT Best-Case Scenario Targets November Opening For D.C. Streetcar [WAMU]
· Streetcar arrives on H Street [Greater Greater Washington]
· Key questions still surround planned opening of D.C. streetcar line [The Washington Post]
· Streetcar Hits Car Parked at least a Foot from the Curb [PoPville
· D.C. Streetcar Breaks Out In 'Flash Fire' Over Weekend [WAMU]
· D.C. wants streetcars to roll by mid 2013 [The Washington Post]
· Commercial property owners may be asked to pay for part of streetcar costs [The Washington Post]
· D.C. Streetcars Involved in 9 Accidents Since October 2014 [NBC Washington]
· Yet Another Missed Deadline for D.C. Streetcar, Opening 2015 [Curbed DC]
· 'Optimistically Cautious' [Curbed DC]
· So, About The Streetcar ... [Curbed DC]
· No Safety For You! [Curbed DC]
· T-Boning [Curbed DC]
· Streetcar Shenanigans, Part Dos [Curbed DC]
· Miss a Deadline One, Shame on You [Curbed DC]
· Streetcar Struggles [Curbed DC]
· Enough is Enough [Curbed DC]
· D.C. Streetcar [Official Website]