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able to be present, and we will be very glad to get your views on the different sections of the bill, Mr. Shelby.
STATEMENT OF MR. W. S. SHELBY, LIEUTENANT, METROPOLITAN
Mr. SHELBY. Gentlemen, the commissioners asked me to talk particularly with reference to the proposed traffic court, but I want to say something about section 18 also. I want to particularly bring out the point that Mr. Brady has brought out, that during the time these signs were placed at the t'nion Station, the property was under Federal control.
A most atrocious condition existed in front of the Union Station, as has been explained by Mr. Treadway, previous to the roping off of the east entrance to the front of the station, and made so, as he demonstrated by reading Major Pullman's letters, by the fact that. the public hackers were continually cruising in a slow method of approach past the station, interfering with and seriously endangering the lives of thousands and thousands of people in the course of a day, and I do not believe that the situation over there can be controlled, because that is private property, held so by decisions of the courts, and I don't believe that any legislation of Congress can remedy the situation other than legislation looking to returning that property to the United States, and placing it absolutely under the control of the Commissioners of the District. It is a vicious situation, a bad one, and one that needs curing. The method, of course, I don't know.
I wanted yesterday to say something to the committee about the public hackers. Mr. Stern asked the committee--or suggested to the committee-that they do something looking to insuring payment to the hackers by persons who employ them. For many years we had in existence here a regulation, a regulation of the commissioners, stating that in the event of a person employing a public vehicle driver and failing to pay him the legal fare, he would be subject to arrest and prosecution in court, and if he deposited collateral at the station house the judge should direct that a sufficient amount of that collateral, an amount sufficient to cover the cost of the fare, should be paid to the public hack driver. Some few years ago Judge Pugh declared that unconstitutional, and since then there is no way by which the hackers can be protected. That is an injustice and I don't know whether or not this committee can do anything to remedy that feature, but if they could, they should do so.
Mr. LANHAM. That is likely to bring up that old question of imprisonment for debt.
Mr. SHELBY. Yes. Perhaps there is a way that it can be remedied. These hackers pay first their car license, the same as any other owner of an automobile. They pay $9 for its license as a public vehicle. They pay $1 for what is known as the personal licensethat is a character license which is required under an amendment to the license act of 1902. They go out and proceed to endeavor to make a living then, and they are hedged around with a great many restrictions, necessary restrictions—it is absolutely necessary that we should have a great many regulations to restrict the public cab
accommodation going on to specify that the term 76 place of public 36 MOTOR VEHICLE TRAFFIC IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. drivers, but they are given no protection, and an unscrupulous person can come up and hire a public vehicle driver to take him and drive him all around the city, and can then step out of the machine and tell him to get his money the best way he can, and the only way he can get it is by civil suit, and if he can't get the name of the person who has employed him, there is absolutely no road open at all to recovery.
Whatever is done toward remedying the situation over at the Union Station-and I don't think section 18 of this bill is going to cover it in any way—the persons who use the street cars should be given first and paramount consideration, as 500 to 14500 persons will come from that Union Station, and they have to come out to the front, and there are how many tracks out in front of the station ?
A VOICE. Five tracks.
Mr. SHELBY. There are five street railway tracks in front of the Union Station, and 500 people will come out there and use the street car tracks and will have to cross those tracks, two or three or four tracks, and street cars constantly coming in both directions, and if automobiles are permitted again to cruise boldly up and down in front of that station, there is that added danger to the pedestrian, to the person who walks to the street car, and whatever is done the pedestrian should be safe-guarded—that is, the person who uses the street car.
Mr. LANHAM. Let me ask you just a little about section 18 before we get away from that.
In the first place, up there in the first paragraph of section 18,
includes any hotel, apartment, railroad terminal, restaurant, etc., do you think wharves or something of that sort should be included? Or would railroad terminal be sufficient? Mr. SHELBY. I think railroad terminal is sufficient.
We only have one wharf of any consequence here. That is the Norfolk & Washington Steamboat wharf, and we have never experienced any difficulty in handling the situation there, and in all probability never will. We have never had any serious difficulty down there, have we, Mr. Collins ?
Mr. COLLINS. No.
Mr. SHELBY. We probably never will. The boat lands early in the morning, and there are a few vehicles that go down there. The boat leaves at night, half past 6 or 7, and the vehicles are hired up town and they take the passengers there and discharge them, and I don't know that we will ever have any reason for that.
Mr. ZIHLMAN. Before you get off of that, Lieutenant, do you think that this section 18 will remedy the evils complained of on the streets in front and outside of these hotels ?
Mr. SHELBY. No; they will add to them. Section 18 will add to the evils very materially.
Mr. ZIHLMAN. Well, it would break up the monopoly and the partnership existing between hotel companies and the large taxicab companies.
Mr. SHELBY. Monopoly is authorized by decisions of the courts. You will find that the courts have held that these hotels have a
perfect right to permit these companies to establish offices there and call machines from that office for the accommodation of their guests.
Mr. LANHAM. And to have those machines in front on the street?
Mr. SHELBY. Yes; to have those machines out in front on the street.
Mr. LANHAM. Have you a brief on that subject at the City Hall, at the District Building?
Mr. SHELBY. We can get the decisions. Isn't it in the paper that you filed yesterday, Mr. Stern? Weren't those decisions set forth quite fully?
Mr. ZIHLMAN. It is a rather far-fetched decision, and the corporation counsel says that there is no regulation or order of the commissioners permitting hotel companies to occupy the public streets adjacent to their premises with vehicles leased by them from private owners or companies and intended for the use of the hotel guests, but that on the contrary the commissioners have endeavored to break up such a practice, only to be met by the decision of the court of appeals in the case above referred to.
Mr. SHELBY. Lyon v. Terminal Co. is the decision.
Mr. STERN. But the corporation counsel states they have no legal right to do that.
Mr. SHELBY. What is the decision of the corporation counsel compared to the decision of a duly constituted judicial tribunal? I don't believe they have any right either, but the courts did not consult me when they rendered this decision, and probably would not pay any attention to me if they had.
Mr. STERN. If the law could be amended, how about that? Mr. SHELBY. Yes; that could be done. Mr. LANHAM. Let me ask you another question about section 18, with reference to its stipulations concerning private property. Of course, down here at the Union Station if some steps, legislative or otherwise, are going to be taken to divest the Washington Terminal Co. of this land out in front, that could be dealt with in a sense as public property, but what right have they in a bill of this character to say that any man shall not lease a little of his private property, so long as he doesn't violate any of the provisions of the zoning law with reference to the use, etc.—why can't he lease a little stand for a man to keep his car there?
Mr. SHELBY. Speaking as a layman, I would say absolutely there is none, Congressman. Now, that section of the bill would attempt to prohibit the Willard Hotel, for instance, from permitting the use of its F Street entrance. There is not an entrance for vehicles there, but it is so arranged that an entrance could be constructed, I believe, on F Street for vehicles. Is that not so?
Mr. COLLINS. That is so. Mr. SHELBY. It could be arranged so that a portico could be built there. It has never been used, but it is built so that by some changes in construction a driveway could be arranged—the driveway was there, but never has been used. Now, this section would attempt to prohibit the Willard Hotel Co. from permitting the Terminal Taxicab Co., under an agreement with the hotel company, to come in on that private property and pick up or discharge passengers, and such
an effort on the part of Congress would not stand the test of the courts. I am quite certain it would not.
Mr. LANHAM. Another thing: Do you know the conditions and agreements under which the street-car tracks are built in front of the Union Station on the private property of the Washington Terminal Co.?
Mr. SHELBY. No; I am not familiar enough with those conditions to discuss them; but Mr. Brady, of the Terminal Co., and the representatives of the street-car companies, I think, should be called to give expert testimony on that matter, so that this committee could be thoroughly advised. It is an important subject.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will stand adjourned now until 10 o'clock to-morrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 11.15 o'clock a. m., the committee adjourned until 10 o'clock a. m. Thursday, March 11, 1920.)
SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE
Thursday, March 11, 1920. The subcommittee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. Frederick N. Zihlman presiding
Mr. ZIHLMAN. The committee will be in order, and Lieut. Shelby, of the Metropolitan police, will proceed.
STATEMENT OF MR. W. S. SHELBY, LIEUTENANT, METROPOLITAN
Mr. LANHAM. Mr. Chairman, may I ask Mr. Shelby another question in regard to section 18 before we go to the traffic-court provision?
Mr. Shelby, are you familiar with the circumstances under which that garage permit was issued down there, and the purpose of it?
Mr. SHELBY. No; I am not. I do not know the purpose of it. I would suggest, if I may, to the committee that the building inspector be cited to appear before the committee to explain that, and then the committee will get expert information.
Mr. LANHAM. Are you familiar with the traffic signs down there and the condition which led to the placing of them there?
Mr. SHELBY. Yes, sir.
Mr. LANHAM. What led to the placing of the public signs by the department on private property there?
Mr. SHELBY. The constant cruising of these hackers before the Union Station.
Mr. LANHAM. Were the signs put there on the request of the Washington Terminal Co., or at the option of the police department?
Mr. SHELBY. I am not in a position to state positively, but they were put there with the idea of protecting, in a measure at least, the interests of the public, and those chains were placed across the eastern entrance for that purpose.
Mr. LANHAM. The point I was specially interested in getting at was who originated the placing of them there, whether it was done at the request of the Washington Terminal Co., or was done by the
police department of its own volition. In other words, whether the owners of the private property requested the public authorities to place public signs there, or whether the public authorities went in voluntarily on private property and placed public signs there.
Mr. SHELBY. I am not in a position to say.
ant me to. Mr. LANHAM. I just want some one who can speak authoritatively.
Mr. BRADY. The only thing the District had to do about the placing of those chains, the roping off of that front portion of the thoroughfare in front of the Union Station, was to grant a permit from the building department for the erection of those posts and chains. They were put there by the superiutendent or Federal manager of the Washington Terminal Co. Of course the corporation was not in control of this property at that time.
Mr. LANHAM. How about the signs, the police department sign “No parking"?
Mr. BRADY. I don't know who put those signs there, but it certainly was not done on the initiation of the District itself. It was done by the superintendent of the Washington Terminal Co.-or the Washington Terminal property.
Mr. LANHAM. I assume it was done at the instigation of the Washington Terminal Co.; otherwise there probably would be some protest by them for interference with their property.
Mr. BRADY. At that time there was agitation in the newspapers. I think the Star had four or five articles illustrated by photographs of the condition down there, and that brought about the placing of the chains
Mr. ALBERT J. HEADLEY (Metropolitan police). Mr. Chairman, if you would like to have that information at this time, I can give it
Mr. ZIHLMAN. It will probably clear the matter up to get it into the record.
Mr. HEADLEY. On account of conditions at the Union Station that have been pictured here by the different witnesses, the representative of the Federal control came to the commissioners' office and laid their cards on the table and asked for assistance.
Mr. LANHAM. Who was the representative?
Mr. HEADLEY. I don't know, sir, but I did know who it was at the time.
Mr. LANHAM. He asked for assistance in what way?
Mr. HEADLEY. In regulating the conditions in front of the Union Station in order that the lives of people might not be jeopardized.
Mr. LANHAM. When was that?
Mr. HEADLEY. I can not give you the date, sir, but I had those signs printed. That is my work. I had those signs printed and saw them put up outside of the chains and posts referred to on the north side at the curb, that prevented cabs from passing between the curb and the platform.
Mr. LANHAM. With whom did the Federal control commissioner take up
the matter? Mr. HEADLEY. With the commissioners of the District. Mr. LANHAM. Which commissioner?
Mr. HEADLEY. I don't know, because I got my instructions from the superintendent of police. "I submitted two plans by which we