Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle Gurley is The American Prospect’s deputy editor.

Recent Articles

A Tale of Two Subway Systems

Washington Metro riders might complain about their subway system, but it could be worse—just look at Boston.

(Photo: AP/Alex Brandon)
(Photo: AP/Alex Brandon) Riders sit in a train in the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station on March 15, 2016, the day before a one-day system-wide shutdown. K vetching about the decline of Metrorail is a popular pastime in Washington, D.C. But area residents may elevate complaining to an art form if Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) officials decide to close off entire lines or sections of the region’s subway system for weeks or months at time—something they said was a real possibility earlier this week. Yet if Washington riders want to experience how bad commuting can get when a transit agency fails to properly maintain its transportation assets, they can head to the other end of the Northeast Corridor for a preview of coming attractions: Without drastically accelerated repairs, Washington, D.C., will soon have a subway system like Boston’s. The Metro announcement comes less than two weeks after WMATA General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld ordered an unprecedented...

Cities Still In Search of Solutions

We need to reignite the debate over the future of urban America.  

AP Photo/Eric Gay
AP Photo/Eric Gay Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, right, with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, left, during a campaign event, Thursday, October 15, 2015, in San Antonio. A New York Times 2008 editorial, “In Search of A Real Urban Policy” declared that, “For more than a generation, presidential aspirants have mostly resisted acknowledging the importance of the cities’ well being. Voters deserve to hear a lot more from the presidential candidates—in position papers, public speeches and debates—about how they intend to help the cities.” The Times cited urban issues like New York City graduation rates, the Katrina debacle, and like the Minneapolis bridge collapse as worrying issues on the urban landscape. The 2008 Democratic presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, had “pieces of an urban agenda” while Senator John McCain, the major Republican contender, didn’t have much to offer. Nearly decade later, the issues facing American...

Transit Safety Shuffle in the Nation’s Capital

Unless the federal government can exercise proper authority over D.C.'s ailing transit system, dangerous accidents may continue to occur. 

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon Metro trains arrive in the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station Tuesday, March 15, 2016 in Washington. The head of the rail system that serves the nation's capital and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs says the system will shut down for a full day Wednesday after a fire near one of the system's tunnels. T he entire Washington, D.C., subway system shut down for an emergency safety inspection for 29 hours last week, forcing thousands of District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia residents to find other ways to navigate the region. The Federal Transit Administration is the lead agency in charge of safety oversight on the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority, the only local agency in the United States that the FTA oversees. With the FTA (which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation) charged with oversight for the system, you would think that federal officials were on the scene as their WMATA counterparts the inspected the subway. You would be wrong...

The Siren Call of Streetcars

How the real-estate industry foils cost-effective transit

(Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
(Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) A DC streetcar travels along H Street NE in Washington, D.C., on January 27, 2015. T he long-awaited D.C. streetcars recently started trundling down Washington’s H Street NE, near the U.S. Capitol. Yet the $200 million line, which had been in the works for a full decade, has mostly been greeted with the sound of one hand clapping. Residents have complained about the slow speed of the system, the short span of the line, and the paucity of new jobs or better transit connections for the area’s African American poor. When it comes to streetcars, New York is no Washington, insists Gotham Mayor Bill de Blasio. The Big Apple, he says, would have a “ different ” approach to the $2.5 billion Brooklyn Queens Connector, a cross-borough waterfront streetcar plan. Still, a streetcar is a curious choice for New York, a city that epitomizes a “the quick and the dead” attitude toward urban commuting—getting to a final destination by the shortest, fastest route...

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