Dear PoP – Street Cleaning Issues

Johnston Street sweeper, originally uploaded by perryolf.


“Dear PoP,

It seems like the city has ended street cleaning quite abruptly this year. I received this message on the U Street Email list and thought it would be helpful for others to know to not pay any street cleaning tickets they may have received since Friday November 6th:

A Message from DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. on the Suspension of Street Sweeping, as of Friday, November 6:

“I made the decision at 12 noon on Friday (November 6th) after watching a street sweeper on its route. There was a trail of leaves behind the sweeper. I then went to the shop to see if the mechanics could modify any part of the sweeping mechanism so that we could continue the program through November 20th. Unfortunately they could not. The manufacturer changed the design of the sweeper on the newer models.

“It just didn’t seem to make any sense to continue the sweeping program when we were not doing an effective job. A lot of folks move their vehicles for the program. It seemed to be the right thing to do to give them some relief even if I didn’t give them a lot of notice.

“I apologize to anyone who received a street sweeping ticket because they should not have. I will administratively void any ticket that is issued this week for a street sweeping violation. It is not necessary that you send me your ticket number for the street sweeping violation. I can look it up and void it.”

And I just saw the following from CM Graham:

“I want to thank those that called and wrote my office yesterday regarding street sweeping and tickets.

Here is what we know. There was much confusion caused by the Dept. of Public Works’ quick decision to suspend street sweeping last Friday. This resulted in very little warning to residents as there was only one announcement of the decision.

This week, tickets were issued to residents who moved their cars to comply with sweeping regulations unaware that cleaning was suspended. In all of these cases, residents receiving tickets lived on streets where parking was allowed on one side only, except on days of street cleaning. I requested and received assurance that the Dept. of Public Works will review and dismiss such tickets. Only tickets issued for violating a date and time restricted zone connected to the same day of street cleaning will be rescinded.

If you have received such a ticket, please contact Ms. Nancee Lyons at the Dept. of Public Works for help. Send the ticket information to [email protected]

11 Comment

  • Is it really that difficult to program the ticket machines to prevent a ticket from being generated on a street that has street cleaning on a given day/time through the street cleaning season?
    I mean, I understand thinking isn’t part of the job, but really? Why are all the cars parked on the wrong side of the street?

  • “tickets were issued to residents who moved their cars to comply with sweeping regulations”

    I don’t understand…if you moved your car, why you would get a ticket? Didn’t you move it so it wouldn’t be on the side of the street that was supposed to be swept?

  • There are a few blocks where it’s only legal to park on one side of the street the one day the other is being cleaned. I’d assume those go to 100% no parking once street cleaning ends.

  • I’m also confused. Does street cleaning have a season? I had not idea.

    When does the season start and end? Or am I not understanding this whole thing correctly…

    When will they start street cleaning again?

  • they don’t street clean in winter b/c the water used would ice up and create a dangerous condition.

  • On my block in NY people just move their cars to the middle of the street to allow the street sweeper. Apparently this is allowed. Very, odd. But you know? Somehow it works.

  • @saf – it says residents and businesses will be notified in the spring of 2010 when street sweeping resumes… How will we be notified? Seems like they should have a set date posted on the signs or something…

  • @mal – They usually post it on their website or you will get something in the mail (I believe) telling you when it will resume. Also, they tend to post the notice in the various papers (i.e. : Dupont current, etc.)

  • Choosing regular dates for winter suspension and posting these dates on the parking signs is way way beyond the wildest abilities of DDOT. I’ve been talking with them and with Jim Graham’s office about this for years – extreme Kafka!

    On Irving St. which is the major E-W route for emergency vehicles, Wed. in winter simply means a bad day to have a heart attack or fire. The usual two lanes are reduced to one, and it takes an extra 5-6 minutes for an ambulance to get through.

    Most people never hear about the suspension of street cleaning, so there is parking on both sides of the street and ambulances simply stall for 5 extra minutes in traffic. DDOT acknowledges the problem but cannot respond with logic or the simple remedy. Here is the basic conversation:

    “Well, we can’t change all the signs in the city, it would cost too much.”
    “How about just starting with major streets where emergency vehicles must travel, then post new signs gradually as they would be replaced anyway?”
    “Oh, that might be one idea. . . ”
    “Or you could simply print stick-on decals and ask for citizen volunteers to go around and stick them up on the existing signs – I’ll volunteer.”
    “We can’t do that.”
    “Why not?”
    “We don’t do that.”
    “How about I go around with a magic marker and write on the signs?”
    “You can’t do that. . .”

    The only solution is just don’t have an emergency on Wed. in winte in DC!

  • Vonstallin

    They normaly publish a DC hand book with stuff like leave pick up, x-mas tree removal and all kinds of stuff. It has the dates for the street sweeping. Normaly it ends in Nov and picks up mid March. I am also not sure why they dont say something like last week in March to Last week in Nov.

    I wonder how long will it take to get DC straight…. It really isn’t that difficult to identify the problem in communications and fix it.

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