One person's notion of a public improvement may be another's notion of vandalism, even if innocently unwitting. Jerry A. McCoy, a Washington photographer, takes note of one instance of the latter -- the obliteration of a historic artifact that few people in town would have been likely to recognize.
Before year's end, McCoy observed a crew from the Metro transit agency putting down asphalt to repave the bus turnaround loop at the east end of the Duke Ellington Bridge -- or "Calvert Bridge," as it shows on the destination signs of the No. 92 bus line.
In producing this public improvement, McCoy said, Metro obliterated the only remaining side-by-side examples of the different types of streetcar tracks that long existed in the District.
There was one loop of tracks with two rails and a slot in the middle, from which cars going to and from central Washington drew power from an underground cable. And there was another loop simply with two rails, on which cars ran into the suburbs -- by an old definition, anything generally north of Florida Avenue or northwest of Rock Creek Park -- and drew their power from an overhead trolley wire.
Now the loop is smoothly paved: useful, but, in McCoy's words, "How sad!"