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From 1941: Washington’s Traffic Problem and the Possibility of a Subway

Read this fascinating article from the Washington Post from April 8th, 1941, when only Boston, New York and Philadelphia had subways. Learn about the traffic problem in Washington at the time and the possibility of a subway being built.
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Here is a fascinating article we dug up in the Washington Post from April 8th, 1941. At the time, only Boston, New York and Philadelphia had subways.

Of course, our country was thrown into World War II almost exactly eight months later (what happened in D.C. the day Pearl Harbor was attacked?), and we didn’t end up with our Metro for 35 more years.

Construction of a subway from the downtown area north between the Soldiers Home was predicted yesterday by Traffic Director William A. Van Duzer as a result of a report now being prepared on the District’s traffic engineering problem.

Speaking before the Dupont Circle Citizens Association in the Mayflower Hotel, Van Duzer said that 37 per cent of the Federal Government workers lived in the Park-Soldiers Home area and constituted the city’s greatest rush-hour traffic problem.

The report being prepared by his office is expected to be released in summary by May 1 and will form the basis of a master plan for future city development.

Unless steps such as the proposed subway are taken, the traffic situation will soon become “very serious,” the traffic director said: “More than 1,000 new Government workers are coming to Washington every month, and last year saw an increase of 14,000 automobiles here,” he stated.

It’s hard to believe that 37 percent of federal workers lived in that section of the city. I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of them live in Virginia and Maryland today.

downtown Washington at F St. in 1942
downtown Washington at F St. in 1942
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Ghosts of DC stories.