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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WBJ: DC Streetcar Contract Canceled

The Washington Business Journal reports that the District has canceled an $8.7 million contract to purchase  two streetcars from a Portland based company. The cancellation follows a protest filed by a competing bidder.  A formal review found the protest raised valid issues, and the solicitation has now been reopened.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

In practical terms, what does this mean?

DCJaded said...

Not enough kickbacks?

Anonymous said...

oh, crap.

AndTobago said...

never cross the czech mafia. Just like the hungarians, with keyser soze!

RL said...

Hurray for Vince Gray! Why cancel a project in front of your constituents, when you can instead kill it via bureaucratic means. I cannot wait to recall that ass hat.

Anonymous said...

What's the status on the effort to recall Gray? I had heard there was a movement but haven't heard anything else about it. Is there a website? A petition?

oboe said...

Funny thing is, even if no streetcar ever rolls down H Street, putting in the streetcar rails will have been the best money DC ever spent. The buzz alone has been enough to super-charge development on the corridor. If we get a streetcar at this point, it'll be gravy.

Anonymous said...

I had the same thought, but I also worry the threat of no street car will slow down progress in the area. Will people really want to live in the fancy new apartments with few decent public transportation options? Who really wants to ride the X2...

I do sincerely hope H St turns out to be the boon we all thought it would be. On that note...how can we help with the recall of that dope we call a mayor?

grr said...

Hopefully the streetcars will be safer than the buses...

http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c3#/video/us/2012/01/11/tsr-brian-todd-dc-bus-crashes.cnn

Andrew said...

This is turning into a farce.

Anonymous said...

At least we can be assured that there was absolutely no corruption involved in awarding the contract to lay the rails!

Because that would never happen with federal money.

Anonymous said...

I don't see this as a huge set back. Don't we still have the two or three cars from Czechoslovakia?

Anonymous said...

I spoke with a friend who works for the City Council and asked what impact this will have. He said that the worst case scenario is that at the initial launch of the street car, we will have two instead of the intended four. This will translate into 20 minute intervals between streetcars rather than the 10 minute waits that are expected once all four cars are up and running.

Anonymous said...

Watched the starburst intersection from the Argonaut this evening. Lots and lots of blocking the box by folks heading down Bladensburg.They wouldn't even let a police car and ambulance get through the intersection. A street car would not be able to get through. They need to put a redlight camera at that intersection ASAP to change some peoples driving habits.

dt said...

There's also a ton of double parking up & down H st all day & night. They should have run the streetcar down the middle!

Part of the problem with the starburst is the stoplight timing - MD Ave to Bladensburg is a major route through & out of the city, but the light half a block up Bladensburg (at Morse) is frequently red.

That block can only hold maybe 3 cars, but a lot more than that are trying to go across the intersection, so they end up stopping in the intersection until the 2nd light turns green. You also can't see that light from MD Ave, so there's no way to prevent it as a driver, you just end up stuck.

wylie coyote said...

dt,

I've been driving around here for years and I've never gotten "stuck" in the middle of h street traffic going north on Maryland Ave into the starburst. Yes, it is hard to see the light at Morse and Bladensburg from where Maryland meets the starburst, but what you can see is the cars on Bladensburg in front of you and if there are a line of them with their brake lights on, you stay put, which is how everyone else in the world avoids "blocking the box".

Alan Page said...

"Who really wants to ride the X2..."

Riding the X2 hasn't stopped all of our development to date. If they build it, folk will come.

If the transit gods smile on us, maybe we'll get a Circulator going down H or Maryland in our lifetime.

Anonymous said...

A Circulator would have been the best solution all along. The streetcar project was a mess from the start.

Anonymous said...

A Circulator would be fine, especially if it travelled south at some point - like 8th St or 14th.

Frankly, if one of the big advantages of the streetcar is economic development, why don't they put the Circulator on the H Street line NOW until the streetcar runs in mid-2013? Why miss out on 1 1/2 years of transit-driven business?

Anonymous said...

Why do people think a street car is different from a bus?

I'm one of these people who bought a condo on H, but by union station so I could have a real transportation option. You wouldn't catch me dead on a bus (or streetcar, because they are the same thing!)

Robby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robby said...

This is a bid protest. This has nothing to do with the actual street car program. If the city were not behind the program they would not have let
DCKA-2011-R-0042. Bid Protests are a factor in all public solicitations.

In practical terms, either another round of BAFOs, or a new solicitation, so either another 60 days, or maybe another 180+ days for a new solicitation.

Bid protests are a fact of life in public procurement. It's rarely a sign of criminal behavior (kick-backs) or malfeasance . This one appears to based in the implementation of the evaluation proces.

In the end the project may slip some, but it is always in the best interest of the public to do it right. The wrench now will be the tightened BAA rules.

-Robby

Anonymous said...

Speeding on HstNE is out of hand. Metro buses, Mega buses, Bolt buses, UPS trucks, mail trucks, cars from everywhere.....all go way over 25mph. I emailed this to lt. Miche and his response was that after "the construction" on HstNE was completed they would do a study to see if increased monitoring methods were waranted.

Does he know that HstNE will have construction on it for the next 5 to ten years? Do we wait for a deadly vehicle/pedestrian accident or vehicle on vehicle accident? Why not be proactive on this and set up a permanent or non-permanent speed camera up now?

Why do the police seem uninterested in the pedestrian safety on HstNE?

Anonymous said...

Ha ha... MPD unconcerned with pedestrian safety on H? They are unconcerned all over the city. As long as the Maryland commuters can get in and out as quickly as possible that is all the administration and MPD give a shit about.

Kaylee said...

Anon @ 7:59, assuming you are asking a real question, streetcars are vastly different from buses in many ways, one important one being that buses can easily change routes, so a bus line won't spur development, whereas rail cannot.

Why do you refuse to ride the bus? I personally prefer it over the Metro.

Anonymous said...

Have you been on the X2? It's disgusting. And there is an unsavory element of people that ride the bus.

There will always be a bus route up and down H. So riding in less mobile streetcar now seems even worse than riding a bus because it's slower!!!

dt said...

wylie coyote: I think it really depends on the traffic and the time of day. If you're 4 or 5 cars back on MD and traffic is moving in front of you, you're going to enter the intersection. Then the first 3 cars ahead of you take up the entire space from the red light at Morse and you're stuck. The intersection is much longer than that little half block!

Not to mention the people that are always trying to turn left (15->H, MD->H, or Bladensburg->Benning) and holding everything up. In general, I suspect they could optimize the flow of traffic through that intersection; perhaps they will now that construction has been over for a while and traffic patterns have settled down.

As for the streetcar, it has lots of benefits over the bus (as mentioned here and elsewhere) and hopefully will be running someday, but I don't get the problems with the X2. It's a fantastic connection to the rest of the city, you can go directly downtown, and to Metro Center and Chinatown for train access. It runs practically 24 hours a day. Its only problem is that it's not frequent enough outside of rush hour!

Anonymous said...

"And there is an unsavory element of people that ride the bus." Thank you Anon. 1:52 for speaking the truth! Now be prepared to be called out as a racist elitist for pointing out the obvious.

curmudgeon said...

Anon 7:59am -- why do people think streetcars are different from buses? Because we've lived or spent significant amounts of time in places with both (Toronto, Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco (not the cable cars, but the Muni streetcar), Seattle, Portland), and experienced the ways in which they're different.

HTH.

dgh said...

Where is that recall petition??????

Derek said...

@dgh

http://recallvincegray.com/

Anonymous said...

Yeah, curmudgeon, we've also lived or spent a lot of time in cities that had both buses and streetcars. Guess what? They're exactly the same. They get you from Point A to Point B.
The biggest difference is that if there is a problem on the streetcar tracks, you are screwed! The streetcar can't detour. The line can be closed down for hours for an accident, fire, electrical malfunction, etc. Been there, done that.

curmudgeon said...

Anon 12:15am -- if that's all the difference you noticed in your time living in Seattle/Toronto/wherever, then you weren't a very observant person while you lived there. Or you had a preconception about this, and simply ignored anything you saw or heard about to the contrary.

I'm curious as to what your explanation is for why, in Boston or Seattle or Toronto, there are thousands and thousands of people who will ride the streetcar who do not and will not get on a bus.

Anonymous said...

Snobs and racists.
Streetcars and Circulators are Things That White People Like. They go to places That White People Like.

oboe said...

Snobs and racists.
Streetcars and Circulators are Things That White People Like. They go to places That White People Like.


Funny, you sound like the snob. Other things "White People Like": riding bikes, dog parks, walking to places, eating healthy food, not littering, reading books.

Oh, wait. Sorry, those aren't "Things White People Like", they're just things normal well-adjusted human beings like.

Anonymous said...

Normal, well-adjusted people can disagree with you.
They can ride bikes, walk dogs, eat well, pick up other people’s trash, and read books that they check out from the public library – and still think that the streetcar is a waste of taxpayer money.
They also recognize that not everyone has to think alike. Or be afraid to say it for fear of being ridiculed.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous, you are a perfect example of individuals in our neighborhood fostering unreasonable hate. shit white people like are are also the ben ali's, HR-57, taja construction, and other other educated successful black entrepreneurs revitalizing H street.

oboe said...

They also recognize that not everyone has to think alike. Or be afraid to say it for fear of being ridiculed.

Very true. We can debate the merits of streetcars versus buses. Or rolled tacquitos versus organic produce. Or whatever versus whatever.

But when you write off streetcars as being "Things White People Like", it's no longer about streetcars; it's about being an asshole and is deserving of ridicule.