Thursday, May 06, 2010

Franz Kafka Rides DC's Rails In The Czech Republic

D.C. streetcars roll in Czech Republic
It's like something out of a Franz Kafka novel -- a city buys streetcars for $10 million, but has no tracks to run them.

Kafka was a famous Czech writer and the streetcars are in the Czech Republic. The city that bought the streetcars -- with no tracks -- is the District of Columbia.

3 years ago the District of Columbia bought the streetcars. 3 years ago the District of Columbia had no tracks for streetcars and presumably someone in government understood that. Presumably.

D.C. Department of Transportation Director Emeka Moneme tells WTOP the holdup is tracks for the streetcars to run on. They have not been put down, and there is no current timetable for when those tracks will go down.

So, for the last 3 years DC's streetcars have been taken out for periodic spins in the Czech Republic because some genius bought them when they could not be used. That about sums up governance in DC. Oh, and when they do get around to putting in tracks, DC wants ridership to be free.

Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made. Franz Kafka

Church On Wheels


"New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, with a combined population smaller than Poland...have more automobiles in service than the whole world outside of the United States," wrote William Joseph Showalter in his October 1923 National Geographic article, "The Automobile Industry." Pictured in that issue was one of those New York cars in service—to a higher power. The Reverend Branford Clarke's Brooklyn-based "traveling chapel" was equipped with stained-glass windows, an organ for his wife to play, and a fold-down steeple to help the whole thing fit in his garage.—Margaret G. Zackowitz