The final agenda
is now out for Thursday's meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission, and contained in it is a long document setting out the commission staff's recommendations
for a vote on the design of the 11th Street Bridges
For anyone interested in the bridges as a driver, bicyclist, pedestrian, water recreationist, neighbor, or construction enthusiast, it's a worthwhile read (even at 26 pages). To cut to the chase, the staff is recommending that the commission "comment favorably" on the designs for the bridges, even though the designs are still in the very early stages, and there's very little new in this document that we didn't see in the EIS
or other releases. There's even mention of how the city's Comprehensive Plan envisions the eventual dismantling of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, but that the new bridges are needed until the time comes that I-395 comes down (i.e., far past the date I shuffle off this mortal coil).
However, they are not at all happy with DDOT's decision to choose a streetcar system with overhead wires, and the document goes into detail on how this works against federal interests, as well as listing what non-overhead-wire streetcar options exist out there (none in the US so far). Their conclusions (page 22):
"Recommends that DDOT not include streetcar system components for overhead wires as part of the 11th Street Bridge project and that DDOT prepare an environmental impact statement for its proposed District wide streetcar system that examines potential impacts on the L'Enfant City and Georgetown and that includes an analysis of propulsion systems that do not require the use of overhead wires.
"Advises DDOT that the Commission does not support a streetcar system with overhead wires because it supports the unobstructed views to important landmarks along the city's streets and avenues that are integral to the District's unique character and result from the long-standing federal statutory prohibition against using overhead wires in Washington City (the L'Enfant City) and Georgetown.
"Encourages DDOT to pursue alternative propulsion technologies for the proposed streetcar system that do not require overhead wires in accordance with its January 24, 2008 commitment to include dual vehicle propulsion requirements in a solicitation package for the development and implementation of the broader streetcar system beyond the Anacostia and H Street/Benning Road corridors."