DPW and DDOT “want to remind residents that as a policy the District does not plow alleys” Resident Responds

Photo courtesy PoPville resident Danny Collier

DPW reminded some listserve folks of DC’s alley plowing policy (from 2009):

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Department of Public Works (DPW) want to remind residents that as a policy the District does not plow alleys.

“The District does not plow alleys,” said DPW Director William O. Howland Jr. “We do not have the resources and in the majority of the alleys there is no place to push the snow. It would be too difficult and labor intensive to plow any type of alley, whether narrow or wide, in the District.”

“We are receiving numerous requests from residents, higher than in years past,” said DDOT Director Gabe Klein. “Our crews are focused on clearing the District’s 1100 miles of roadway, in particular the residential and side streets. We just do not have the resources to plow alleys.”

On twitter @creolebeth shared her frustration with @PoPville about trash pick up:

“Trash pickup alt #1: train drivers to drive in snow/ice.

Trash pickup alt #2: ask alley homes to put trash on street for pickup when snows.

Trash pickup alt #3: have trash pickup walk down alley to get trash.

Trash pickup alt #4: place dumpsters in parks for residents to bring trash.

Trash pickup alt #5: create trash drop off sites in accessible areas for the trash trucks.

Trash pickup alt #6: extend dump hours so people have place to store trash.

Trash pickup alt #7: pay some over time and work extra hours on days between storms.

Trash pickup alt #8: do nothing until residents decide to store trash at city hall.

Trash pickup alt #9: Do what you did in 2014 — lots of snow and trash was still collected.”

42 Comment

  • Someone give @Creolebeth a hug quick!

  • Are they going to start street sweeping on schedule next week?

  • Gabe Klein? Back to the future!

  • Tsar of Truxton

    I am less annoyed about the fact that the District is not collecting trash as I am about the fact that they are not being clear about when it will be picked up. Snow happens, I get it. But why not post a schedule or something of what neighborhoods will receive trash pick-up so the alleys don’t need to be filled with cans while people hope today will be the day. Then again, maybe the alleys would still be full because people are too lazy to bring trash back in.

    FWIW, I had my trash collected this week (Wednesday), but did not have recycling collected for whatever reason.

  • Brianne Nadeau was helpful last friday when I told her CM Graham would have had this dealt with. She said she was going to pickup our trash herself and was told by DPW she would need a place to dump it. SInce then, as she indicated she would get locked up over pot with Mayor Bowser, she has been quiet.

    • With all due respect to the reasonable customary delays that are caused by winter weather, why is this so hard to accomplish when it has been done on the same streets in the same city during past winters? This is not the first time DC has experienced inclement winter weather, so the usual excuse “we aren’t used to it” has gotten old.

      • +1000! GET used to it, DC!

        • Brianne then offered to build section 8 housing for the uncollected garbage, and offered to drive this garbage to the polls during the next election! ; )

      • west_egg

        This is but one example of the precipitous decline city services have suffered over the past year. Mayor Gray’s ouster last April (!!!) made certain that nobody would be motivated to do a good job for the rest of his term. Ask any Ward 4 resident who has experience with Bowser’s “constiuent services” team and you’ll understand why there’s been absolutely no improvement.

  • As a kid in the 70’s in DC, I remember alleys being covered in ice for weeks on end. It was great for sledding because even minor slopes provided a decent ride. I don’t recall what happened then but this current situation is not acceptable.

  • Suggestions 2 and especially 6 should be no-brainers. I’ll bring my freakin’ garbage to the dump myself, just so it doesn’t pile up behind my house. But I shouldn’t have to take time off of with to dispose of overflowing trash, or arrange my weekend schedule to get rid of it.

  • We finally had trash pick up on Tuesday after several weeks. Many neighbors have extra trash bags in the alley after the long drought and DPW did not pick up the extra bags. Any suggestions on what to do with these? You’d think the least the could do is actually pick up the trash when they finally come.

  • Provided you removed any trash that has identifying information, what’s to stop people from doing ninja drops of trash in the middle of streets or on main corridors? Maybe if enough people got sick of this, they’d revolt by placing their trash in places where the trucks are going. DC Gov might get sick of the mess and decide they should just learn how to adjust to new weather situations and pick up the trash. I’ve often thought about stuff like this when I’ve seen Christmas trees left up and down the street for weeks. If everyone just got together and threw it all in one place, DC would have to deal with it.

  • Can we keep in mind here — we got 4 inches of snow on 2/17/15 — FOUR INCHES and that brings trash and recycling pickup to a week plus backlog with what a neighbor’s been told today “DPW cannot commit to specific collection times.”

  • #2 is more feasible in some places than others, particularly when rowhouses are involved. If the conditions are too icy and unsafe for DPW workers, we do not need frail and elderly DC residents trying to pull those bins through the alleys and around to the front. Also, this did happen in 2014, only it was worse because there was a flu outbreak among DPW workers. That’s why it’s so frustrating that it’s happened again.

    • Frail and elderly residents aren’t obligated to bring the trash to the street. It may not be an ideal solution, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the current situation: “Hey, it snowed a week ago! Hold on to your trash indefinitely. No idea when we’ll be by to pick it up.”

  • I saw Council member Charles Allen, Ward 6, post a similar request to DPW today. He asked for an alternative to alley pick-up if DPW will not drive down alleys. Props to some in our city government for trying to find a solution: https://www.facebook.com/charlesallendc/photos/a.418057674956363.1073741826.417528031675994/743565335738927/?type=1&theater

  • The alleys being dangerous are a joke reason for not collecting — if the truck finally got to us on 12th Street NW on Tuesday — a week late, the truck could have picked up the recycling. Mini Coopers traverse our alley — so a multi-ton truck can’t get down the alley — baloney.

  • No one is asking them to plow the alleys, just to drive their giant heavy trucks down the same alleys that dozens of regular cars have been successfully driving through for WEEKS. We’ve had no recycle since Feb. 10. Trash went for 2 weeks but was finally collected on Tues. but not recycling. Calls to 311 go nowhere. Calls to DPW are not even being answered.

  • Love the flyer!

  • If the dangerous alleys are the problem, how can the private companies continue to pick up the trash regularly — oh, that’s right — they have to do work to actually get paid unlike DPW. Thanks Muriel and Howland.

  • Must be nice. I haven’t had trash or recycling picked up since February 8th. I say go to grade.dc.gov and grade DPW poorly. They’re the idiots who think that it is dangerous for a 4-ton truck going 5 mph in an alley on melted snow.

  • I’m slowly learning to despise some of you- there’s a lot of petty whinging piggybacking on legitimate gripes. “they have to do work to actually get paid unlike DPW”- do you really think that DPW isn’t working during this storm? That laziness is the main reason they don’t drive a 5 ton truck down a narrow sheet of ice inches away from where some asshole lawyer misparked his beamer? How many workers comp claims would DC be paying out if they were required to drag all trash cans out of every ice-covered alley? Their job is significantly harder and more time consuming in these conditions and complaints like “they didn’t put the lid back on” show an appalling lack of perspective. That being said, the bosses need to step up and coordinate this better- options #2, 4, 5, & 6 should be looked at.

    • west_egg

      BS. The city got nearly 3x more snow last year — so why could they deal with it then but not now?
      There’s a leadership and accountability vacuum at DPW right now. If that wasn’t the case then somebody would at least *pick up the phone* when you call. The only reason they can’t even provide a timetable for pickups is because nobody in any position of authority has asked them to.

      • We had 3x the snow last year but had an immediate warm spell afterwards which melted most of it, so streets and most alleys were relatively clean within days. This year’ we’ve had a lot more freezing temps and the brief warm periods have contributed more to refreezing than thawing.

      • “so why could they deal with it then but not now?”
        Short memory. Same thing happened last year and there was the same complaining.

    • Yes they are lazy–people say they didn’t have pickup in so long they had additional bags on the ground which dpw refused to pickup. They got my trash after a week which means the alley was safe and they should have taken recycling

  • When I got mine picked up on Monday morning by DPW guys BACKED INTO THE ALLEY (our alley doesn’t have 2 entrances) and it was iced so that is NOT an excuse.

  • A lot of people had either the trash or the recycling picked up at the beginning of this week – my alley in NE was not touched. We haven’t had any pick up for over 2 weeks. I noticed they managed to get the street cans this morning, if they didn’t go down the alley today, there is absolutely NO excuse. I would have happily brought the trash cans to the street if I knew that was what needed to be done!

  • I Dont Get It

    I just checked Mayor Bowsers Twitter and there is only one complaint about trash. Have we already given up?

  • clevelanddave

    Man, I’d be happy if they even bothered to plow side streets!

  • Trash pickup alt #10: Attach snow plows to the front of each vehicle in DPW’s standing army of parking enforcement goons, and divert them into the alleys.

  • Something they could do, at least, is salt the alleys. Maybe use some smaller trucks that can fit more easily down the narrow ones. There’s obviously nowhere for the snow to go in the alleys, so plowing isn’t really an option. We would then have people complaining that the plows pushed 3 feet of snow against the back of their houses/fences/gates/trash piles.

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