But Dana Crumlin, of Upper Marlboro, the driver of the car that was hit Wednesday, disputes Sanders’account. Crumlin said she did not switch lanes. Rather, she said she was traveling in the northbound lane and stopped at a red light in the 1400 block of H Street, right across from the intersection of H Street and Florida Avenue “for about a minute,” and then her vehicle was struck by the streetcar.
She said there was significant damage to her Lexus.
“The rear bumper is dragging off,” she said, adding that she also is suffering from headaches, neck and back pain. She said officials offered to transport her to a nearby hospital, but because she is from Maryland she did not want to be taken to a District hospital.
Crumlin said she has driven along that street when the streetcars are running, but had never had any problems. Now she thinks differently. “The streetcars they shouldn’t be on the road,” she said. “The D.C. government needs to do a bit more training with their employees.”
Still officials downplayed the incident and others that have taken place. “It’s nothing to be alarmed about,” Sanders said. “There were no injuries in any of [these incidents] and the streetcar was not at fault in any of them.” He added, the incidents are simply what happens when you introduce a new system into an existing environment.
“People are getting used moving around the streetcar,” he said, adding that collisions will diminish as drivers, pedestrians and cyclists adjust to the streetcar line, which is expected to being regular operations the week of Jan. 19.
Sanders said none of the streetcars were seriously damaged.
D.C.’s effort to launch the new streetcar line have been mired in a series of setbacks. D.C. officials have battled with safety oversight officials. In an e-mail exchange, the State Safety Oversight Office accused DDOT of “fabricating” a key safety document — a charge that DDOT officials denied. Federal transportation officials also have identified problems with the project’s design. In a Dec. 11 letter to the District, the Federal Transit Administration outlined a dozen new safety recommendations and pointed out potential dangers, including a crosswalk across tracks on Benning Road that has no signal.
Once it opens, the 2.2 mile line that runs along H Street and Benning Road NE, will be the first streetcar line in the city in more than 50 years. The streetcar versus car incidents have become popular fodder for tweets. Several photos posted after Saturday’s crash showed the gleaming new street car in contact with the passenger side of a black sedan that was crossing in front of it at the intersection of 6th and H streets NE.