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Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis Records

Identifier: 036
The records consists of 42.5 linear feet of correspondence, clippings, government reports, legislative testimony, hearing transcripts, litigation, flyers, posters, cartographic materials, picket signs, press releases, and printed matter. Significant topics covered in the records include the fight to stop the construction of the Seven Sisters Bridge, I-66, I-95, the North Central Freeway, and the fight to save 69 government-confiscated homes in Northeast Washington, D.C.

The records contain a substantial volume of cartographic materials and because of the activist nature of ECTC, the records also include a large quantity of picket signs and flyers created by its members, particularly the artistic Sam Abbott. Information about or from other local and national grassroots organizations involved in efforts to halt freeway construction appears in the records. A sample of these organizations include: the National Committee on the Transportation Crisis, the Upper North East Coordinating Council, Brookland Civic Association, and the Catholic Interracial Council. Clippings cover D.C. and other urban areas working to block the constructions of freeways. Articles and other writings in the records are about not only the interstate highway system and urban transportation but also such issues as civil rights, urban renewal, and the environment. The collection is divided into 12 series.


  • 1960-1978

Language of Materials



42.5 linear feet; 46 boxes

Biographical / Historical

From the 1950s through the 1970s various plans were devised by local and federal agencies to build a comprehensive urban expressway system to link D.C. to the national interstate highway system. The Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis (ECTC) grew out of the efforts of residents in northeast Washington, D.C. and Maryland who in the 1960s began working to prevent government confiscation of homes in their neighborhoods in the path of the freeway.

ECTC was particularly active in lobbying public officials and testifying at hearings to prevent the building of the North Central Freeway through the District and before Congress to curtail funding for highway construction. Through its local organizing efforts, ECTC eventually spurred the formation of the National Coalition on the Transportation Crisis, which coordinated similar grassroots movements throughout the nation. As a grassroots organization, ECTC relied heavily on public demonstrations, rallies and meetings to gain support for its cause in the late 1960s. In particular, ECTC was involved in a prolonged demonstration and sit-in at the construction site of the Three Sisters Bridge, held rallies to protest confiscation of homes in Brookland, and picketed Mayor Walter Washington's home in opposition to support of freeway construction. ECTC was interested in a number of related issues such as urban planning, environmental issues, home rule, D.C. statehood, and good race relations. It also strongly supported a metrorail system as an alternative to freeways.

Eventually the Southwest/Southeast Freeway, the 14th Street Bridge, and Anacostia Freeway were the only highways built in D.C. that directly linked to I-95. The Capital Beltway and Metrorail rather than freeways have became the primary mode of transportation for most D.C. metro area residents.

Custodial History

Angela Rooney donated the records to the D.C. Community Archives in the 1990s. Mrs. Rooney along with her husband, Thomas Rooney, were key leaders in ECTC in the late 1960s.
Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis
An inventory of Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by Faye Haskins.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the DC Public Library Special Collections Repository

1709 3rd Street NE
Washington DC 20002 USA