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Booker forcefully denounces D.C. freeway plan: 1970 | by Washington Area Spark
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Booker forcefully denounces D.C. freeway plan: 1970

Reginald Booker (right), chair of the Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis (ECTC), makes a point opposing freeways before the D.C. City Council January 29, 1970.


Washington highway diredftor Thomas F. Airis, who had earlier testified in favor of the freeway plan of south and east legs of the inner loop freeway and the north central freeway to Silver Spring, was frequently the target of ECTC ire.


Booker gave his speech while 14 police officers ringed the inside of the council chambers and a dozen others waited outside. Abbott and Booker were among 14 arrested in August 1969 when the council gave the go-ahead to the Three Sisters Bridge.


The battle over freeways versus building Metro took many twists and turns over the years, but in December 1971 Congress over-road Rep. William Natcher’s (D.-Ky.) House District Appropriations Committee and approved funds for Metro without any highway construction.


Although the battle was not over, this was the turning point and none of the proposed freeways nor the Three Sisters Bridge were built. Instead the first 103 miles of the Washington Metro system were funded and constructed.


For a detailed account of Booker’s activism, victories and defeats, see


For more information and related images, see


Photo by Ray Lustig. The image is courtesy of the D.C. Public Library Washington Star Collection © Washington Post.


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Taken on January 29, 1970