DC’s War on “Rogue” Flower Planting Continues

1110 Congress St NE by 3rd and L St, NE

This morning [email protected] tweeted the photo above and wrote:

“@DDOTDC is shutting down our flower planting.”

You have been warned.

30 Comment

  • whats the difference between planting in a tree box and this? someone know more details? are you supposed to have a permit to plant in a treebox?

  • Ok, the one at the Metro I totally understood. This one, not so much. It is essentially a parking lot for food trucks…and it looks hideous currently. Why aren’t they allowed to beautify the neighborhood? There is no added liability to the city like someone falling down an extremely steep escalator in this case so I don’t get it…

    • The city has a vested interest in maintaining ownership and management of city-owned property (assuming this area is city-owned). In this case, the improvements certainly added to the quality of the area, but what about when they don’t? A year or so ago, the owner of Haydee’s in Mt Pleasant decided to chop down a small tree planted on the sidewalk in front of her store, reportedly because she believed it would grow to block her sign. Personally, I found that to be not okay. The next individuals may plant something that directly interferes with a causeway/walkway or other use of public property, despite good intentions. So sadly, I side with the city on these situations — shut them all down.

  • It’s somewhat inaccurate to call it “DC’s War on “Rogue” Flower Planting” since that implies it’s the DC government taking action. Although this case is indeed attributed to DDOT, the famous situation of rippping up the plantings at Dupont Metro was done by WMATA (Metro), which is not part of the city government. And as for war, while we have seen a couple of anti-pretty skirmishes by agencies independent of each other, there is no evidence of a broader war. Yet.

  • huh, I just biked past them yesterday as they were putting in the boxes. Wondered what they were doing. That bank has been nothing but weeds and garbage for the last decade. Some flower boxes would have been nice.

  • Do we know if that particular part of land is actually owned by the city? I can’t tell and the article doesn’t say. Assuming it is, I still go back to the idea that if you don’t own property and have not sought permission to do this, why are you surprised that you are not allowed to do it? As litigious as our society is, can you blame the government for not wanting people to build things on public property?

    • Can we start jailing people who voluntarily pick up trash on public property too? Or how about the people who play music outside of Metro stations? Could we round them up and put em away? I’m so damn sick of all these altruistic assholes ruining my shitty city.

  • On 17th Street near Park/Mt.P street a house planted a tree box. While I am all for beautifying the neighborhood; this cause anyone who parks next to it not to be able to open their car door and limits the sidewalk space. I wondered about the rules with this.
    This house also puts “trash” (not literal, but broken chairs, printers from 1990…) out on the sidewalk with a “free” sign. The junk usually gets broken, rained on, and kicked around the sidewalk/street area, but that is another story.

    • Any physical barriers around the tree are illegal. They can plant flowers or other plants that are less than 18″ in height, but they are not allowed to place any barriers, fencing, or boxes around the tree because it inhibits access to cars or can cause someone to trip & be injured. While the boxes may look nice, they are not legal.

      • Does that include the other 3 sides (leaving the street side unfenced)? There are a ton of the 3-sided little fences, and I’ve seen them being replaced after sidewalk work.

        • I’m not sure – you’ll need to look up the actual statute. I would think that sidewalk work is conducted by DDOT, DC Water, PepCo, DC Gas, or the cable/phone company, depending on the type of work being done and the reason they are repairing/ripping up the sidewalk.

          However, the regulations on the tree boxes are administered by the DCRA, so those other agencies wouldn’t have the authority to remove the 3 sides permanently. DCRA would need to issue the citations and the owner would be required to remove the barriers.

          For practicalities sake, it doesn’t appear that the rule on flower boxes in the public median is enforced at all. So while it is technically not legal, I think the DCRA has bigger fish to fry.

          • I am painfully familiar with this regulation. You ARE allowed to install a “treebox surround” (though I don’t know if it requires a permit or not) as long as you do not put any sort of surround on the curb-facing side or within 18″ of the curb on the perpendicular sides. The portion facing the sidewalk and the two perpendicular sides (again, starting 18″ from the curb) can be fenced. Fencing cannot be more than 18″ tall, and cannot have spikes or anything else which could “impale or injure” someone who trips and falls on it.

          • Nice info ShawGuy, thanks!

    • 311 requests for trash removal seem to be handled pretty quickly.

  • Ha, I just drove by here yesterday (getting parking for the rained out NOMA outdoor film festival), and I thought that’s nice as I saw the raised gardens, continuing to spruce up the joint. What in the world is going on? Isn’t that private property for a parking lot?

  • Can DDOT then work with Casey Tree’s and put in some trees where the boxes are so that the area gets some plantings that are 1) more sustainable, 2) contribute to the greening of the district, 3) restore urban tree canopy and 4) reduce CO2 emissions.

  • Seriously, why woullDDOT worry about beautification in lieu of the little homeless camp growing at the corner of K and 7th NW beside the building construction? Those folks need better care with running water and bathrooms.

  • Tree boxes and grass medians, while DC property, are to be maintained by the property which sits in front of (or in the case of a corner property, alongside of) the box/medians. No permit is needed to plant in that area. I agree the plantings would be a much needed improvement here, but this doesn’t appear to be a tree box in front of private property. Maybe contact the ANC to see if anything can be done?

  • Completely different than the metro guy. Not even close.

  • Ayy. I wish DDOT would focus its attention on fixing some of the more dangerous intersections in town. I’ve witnessed a couple of ugly accidents this week ,both of which could have been avoided if the nonstandard intersections in question had more aggressive signage (and some semblance of enforcement).

  • Yet DCDDOT can’t resolve an issue that is costing the city thousands of dollars–for months on the West side of 14th St between S and Swann, there are no parking meters or parking restrictions. Workers from Maryland and VA park there all day for free in the city’s hottest neighborhood.

  • andy

    Send the DDOT guys to check out the 2012 plantings at Upshur Park and call DPR. The very nice plantings are being choked out by weeds.

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