Photos by Eric Fidler of government documents.

War on cars? Nope, official government policy recommendation from 1950.

Eric Fidler recently tweeted an excerpt from Washington Present and Future: A General Summary of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital and Its Environs, the forerunner to today's DC Comprehensive Plan. It was written by the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which did all planning for both federal and District land before Home Rule.

The Commission... urges study of traffic rules, to speed up bus movements downtown—perhaps setting aside certain lanes for busses only, or even prohibiting private cars and delivery trucks entirely on certain streets in the rush hours. Since a bus carries about 30 times as many people as an auto, it is fair and reasonable to delay as many as 30 autos in order to speed up each bus. The goal is to move people, not vehicles. [emphasis added]

They had the right idea. And from 1950-1976, DC had 60 miles of bus lanes. Unfortunately, after Metrorail opened, officials didn't think we needed bus lanes anymore, and let cars back in. But it can happen again!

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.