Members of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society have launched an all out blitz against DDOT’s new streetcar plan (PDF). Their fearmongering campaign, as communicated in the Capitol Hill Community News by Monte Edwards, is centered on the notion that overheard wires will irrecovably damage priceless viewsheds. Mr Edwards writes:
Trees and overhead wires do not coexist well. Trees would need to be pruned, and in some cases removed, to make way for poles and station-stop bump-outs. In the suburbs you can see the grotesque pruning that results when trees are forced to compete with overhead wires. DC cannot afford a citywide initiative that cuts down mature healthy trees or unnaturally prunes them.
I confidently reject this close minded argument. I’ve visited other cities with streetcar systems and have seen first hand that trees and tram wires can comfortably coexist. But don’t take my word for it, review these Google Streetview images from residential streets tree-lined streets traveled by Portland’s streetcar.
It is unfortunate that the CHRS is choosing to oppose streetcars outright rather than focus on asking DDOT how they plan to minimize the impact of overhead wires on mature trees.
UPDATED (11/9/2009 2:20PM): Chris from ReadysetDC exposes the falsehoods in Monte Edwards editorial with even more gusto.