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Photo by PoPville flickr user Wayan Vota

“Dear PoPville,

I have had Zone 1 parking for the past 6 years. A year ago I won an ADU (affordable dwelling unit) lottery. For those of you who are unfamiliar with ADU, your rent is based off your income. This provided us a home that we could afford that wasn’t “managed” by a slumlord. I waited until my car registration expired before changing my address at the DMV. Just this was more financially feasible for us at the moment then to pay multiple fees at multiple times. The DMV told me that even though the surrounding streets are zone 1, that my block in particular is not allowed to have the RPP permit. Just my block. The apartment building had made a deal with the ANC that they wouldn’t allow residents to have RPPs and that they would keep the block strictly commercial.

I completely understand where the ANC is coming from, but now I have a major problem. Parking used to be about 165$ for the entire year to have zoned parking, and I was able to park in multiple locations in the zone. Now I am being forced to either park illegally on the street or pay $200 per month to park only in a garage (which I cannot afford). Neither one of these are options for us at the moment. Neither is getting rid of my car. My apartment building never mentioned in the lease or verbally that we would be forced to have garage parking.

Has anyone been able to work themselves around this type of problem? Or have any ideas of who I can talk to that can help us with at least finding affordable parking if we can’t have RPP? (Does ADU parking exist?) Or just any advice in general about this?”

07/24/14 11:05am

“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday I was driving to work, the exit from 395 to 295 North in DC is going through a lot of construction and a rod came flying at me. The car in front of me dodged it but I couldn’t. I ended up hitting the rod and it took off my car’s front bumper. Today I drove (my boyfriend’s car) on the same road and the rod is still there. and I got a closer look and it looks like the rod part that holds up the yellow construction signs that’s all over that area. I called DDOT and they transferred me to risk management, but obviously no one picked up when I called. Anyway, I think this is pretty dangerous considering if it flies up when hit then it can go through someone’s windshield and kill someone. If anyone knows the number to call to file a complaint, I would really appreciate it.”

07/22/14 1:20pm

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@MrsARodriguez tweets us the photo above:

“Parked a few spots down, didn’t see vendor sign. Happened 2 another guy 2. Lesson learned I guess! $30 ticket on top of having to pay $120 to get his car from the towing company.”

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“Dear PoPville,

I did not realize until Sunday morning that drivers wanting to park along streets that have Sunday-only back-in parking near churches in Shaw were required to park that way during those times. I just figured it was permissible but not required. I was wrong. In other words, residents must move or adjust how their cars are parked by 7am on Sundays along many streets in Shaw. When I walked by 7th St NW Sunday morning two MPD officers were ticketing cars that were not properly parked (backed in, protruding into one lane of traffic).

What’s more, I understand that MPD will not ticket vehicles that remain backed in and blocking one lane of roadway after 3pm unless a complaint is called in.

By the way, the churches have petitioned the city to extend back-in parking on 6th St NW until 9pm Sundays. The city extended the hours while doing a study earlier this year. The study found that extended hours parking was unsafe but the Universal House of Prayer has hired an attorney to petition the city to allow the extended parking to remain. This extended parking makes it more challenging to find a place to park for residents as, even if they find a spot along that road, they need to move their car/adjust how its parked at 9pm…”

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07/16/14 2:30pm

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“Dear PoPville,

Not sure if any information is out there, but encountered a “new rule” while swimming laps at Francis pool.

While swimming laps today I was told, everyone out of pool for 15 minutes, every hour, new rule. Kids, I can see needing a break, but adults swimming laps. This is like going to the gym and being told to get off a machine or stop using the equipment. Lifeguards were nice,but just sat around for 15 min. Frustrating, burned up a half of lunch swim time.
Emailed DC Parks and Rec, no response.

Any idea where to get more information with this new rule?”

UPDATE: DPR responds:

“Regarding the 15 minute safety break. In a municipal pool setting, 15 minute safety breaks are very standard. They are in place for several reasons. The CDC Healthy Swimming tips recommends this practice in pools that serve a high number of children. During the break, parents take that opportunity to use the restroom which has drastically reduced the amount of water contamination closures. Secondly, our pools often hit capacity and traditionally we see large numbers of guests leave during the break and then we can accommodate more of the public. Third, some of our outdoor pools have small staffs and there needs to be an opportunity for them to check the restrooms, water chemistry, make adjustments, and simply refresh themselves to remain optimal vigilance.

As a lap swimmer myself, I know it would be difficult to get a good workout with these breaks taking place. To remedy that, we have published designated lap swimming times and the safety breaks do not occur. Also our network of indoor pools are available for lap swimming without interruption. The outdoor pools by design are for community use by all. The indoor pools have public hours but also have more availability for other usage such as learn to swim class, self directed fitness and water exercise.

The 15 minute rule has been the policy here at DPR for some time. We are just ensuring it is consistently enforced which I am learning has not always been the case. As I begin to review and revise procedures in the aquatics division, I welcome feedback from the public.”

07/15/14 2:30pm

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“Dear PoPville,

Is it legal for construction sites to close the sidewalk but provide no safe way for folks to walk without being forced to walk in the street without any protection? This picture from 14th street at S St, NW”

Ed. Note: WAMU recently reported on a group called All Walks DC:

“All Walks DC is a citywide pedestrian advocacy group for the District of Columbia.”

07/11/14 1:20pm

From Mayor Gray’s office:

“Mayor Vincent C. Gray today vetoed the “Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014” and returned the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request Act of 2014 to the Council with three line-item vetoes. Mayor Gray cited significant problems in a number of areas of the Council’s budget, and asked the Council to delay their summer recess for 30 days to work with the Executive Branch on a compromise budget that best serves the interests of District residents.

I cannot, in good conscience, sign a budget that hurts seniors, taxes wellness, dramatically delays and drives up the cost of the D.C. Streetcar system, and ties the hands of future Mayors to respond to fiscal problems,” said Mayor Gray. “I am asking Chairman Mendelson and the other members of the Council to work with me so we can craft a reasonable compromise that resolves these problems and better serves the 647,000 residents of our city.” (more…)

07/08/14 3:10pm

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Map courtesy Mid City East

From the DC Office of Planning:

“I am very pleased to present the Draft Mid City East Small Area Plan, a framework for conservation, development and connectivity in the neighborhoods of Bloomingdale, Eckington, LeDroit Park , Bates/ Truxton Circle, Hanover, Sursum Corda and portions of Edgewood and Stronghold. The plan is downloadable here. Please let me know if you would like me to send you a hard copy for your review.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Advisory Committee, for your thoughtful approach and feedback throughout this process – you have been integral to shaping this plan. Over the past year, a team of city planners, consultants, agency representatives and community leaders led a comprehensive planning effort that thoroughly examined the study area and engaged its residents in a robust public engagement process that incorporated both traditional and unconventional methods of outreach. The resulting plan is evidence of the impact of teamwork and citizen involvement in generating ideas and setting priorities to achieve the shared goal of making the District of Columbia a more inclusive city and a better place to live. As you’ll note, the plan places a premium on preserving and enhancing neighborhood character and enhancing corridors, especially North Capitol Street.

The Office of Planning will be accepting formal feedback from constituents until Tuesday, September 2, 2014. Public comments will be accepted in writing via email, U.S. mail, or in person at the Mid City East Mayoral Hearing on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 from 6:30-8:30pm @ The Summit located on 116 T Street, NE. All comments in writing should be directed to:

c/o Chelsea Liedstrand
Mid City East Small Area Plan
1100 4th Street, SW Suite 650
Washington DC 20024
chelsea.liedstrand@dc.gov

Prior to the hearing, the Office of Planning will host Office Hours on Wednesday, July 16 from 9-10:30am at the Big Bear Café located at 1700 1st Street NW and on Thursday, July 24th from 4:00-6:00PM at the Rustic Tavern located at 84 T Street, NW. This will be an additional opportunity for the community to view the plan and provide formal feedback via Public Comment form, which will be provided and collected on site. If you would also like OP to come to your organization’s meeting to present draft plan recommendations, please let me know.

As noted, the plan is available online at www.midcityeast.com and at the various locations listed below: (more…)

07/07/14 1:25pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user BrennaLM

“Dear PoPville,

I had parallel parked on a residential block of 11th street NW in a spot that was apparently reserved for a handicapped person that lived there. I did not see the sign (it was dark and I wasn’t looking for it, because I didn’t realize that a personal reserved handicapped spot was a thing–dumb, I know). When I came back to my car, I saw the $250 ticket, which was a gut punch, worsened by the fact that there was a free spot right in front of me.

I thought that was the worst of it, but as I studied the ticket (which was sitting on my windshield, face up, with no envelope, for all to see), I saw that it not only had my first, middle and last name, my address, my date of birth, my home address, and my license plate number, but it also had MY FREAKING SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER ON IT! This seems like a massive privacy violation, not to mention incredibly stupid (and I think illegal) due to the HIGH RISK that anyone walking by could easily steal my identity or use the information for other ill purposes.

I saw online that a class action lawsuit was successful, ruling that police departments that put too much information on parking tickets are violating privacy law–and that case didn’t even involve a social security number! Has this happened to anyone else? Is it common/legal? Does anyone have advice of how I should proceed in reporting and possibly litigating this?

I’ve since learned about the federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act, which governs the disclosure of personal information gathered by the DMV and the recent (2012) 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that said that police that put too much personal information on parking tickets are in violation of the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (and the case in question here didn’t even have social security numbers on the ticket), so it really does seem like a violation was committed. Oh, yeah, and I called the police station (that’s who gave me the ticket) and they were phenomenally unhelpful and basically just said I could come into the station and file a complaint.”

Ed. Note: When I first got a DC drivers license in ’97 we had our Social Security number printed on the card, later this was removed and replaced with a random number. Never heard of one on a parking ticket before.

07/02/14 3:10pm

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Photo by PoPville flickr user J Sonder

From the Mayor’s Office:

“Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and officials from the Department of Health (DOH) released a new report showing continued progress in the District’s fight against HIV and other diseases.

“My administration’s commitment to addressing the District’s HIV epidemic has turned the tide on HIV in our city, and I’m proud of the progress we continue to make,” said Mayor Gray. “While we are still experiencing an HIV epidemic, our innovative programs and partnerships have allowed us to make significant progress in reducing new HIV infections and improving treatment for those with HIV.”

The DOH report released today provides the annual update on the state of HIV, hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and tuberculosis (TB) in the District through the end of 2012. This latest snapshot of the epidemic shows that the District continues to make progress in reducing new cases and improving health outcomes for those infected with HIV.

“The District continues to lead the way in getting people diagnosed with HIV infection earlier and connected to care through our treatment-on-demand policy,” Mayor Gray said. “We should continue to embrace and follow the National HIV Strategy so that the nation’s capital can get to zero new infections.”

This year’s annual report highlights continued improvements, such as: (more…)

06/25/14 1:30pm

From a press release:

“A report of “deplorable housing conditions” at Park Morton on a local blog has been determined to be fictitious.

The District of Columbia Housing Authority takes complaints seriously. DCHA immediately investigated a Prince of Petworth post that featured several housing violations. The claims made in the post were found to be fabricated. The blog post has since been removed from the site. Ed. Note earlier this week the post was removed at the request of the OP who at the time said he felt threatened. Nevertheless, my sincere apologies to the DC Housing Authority if the photos were indeed fabricated by the OP.

During the inspection, it was determined that the online post was submitted by an adult dependent of a Park Morton resident. That dependent admitted to causing the destruction of property and making a false report to a neighborhood website. DCHA repaired the issues.

It is DCHA’s mission is to provide quality affordable housing to extremely low- through moderate-income households while fostering communities and cultivating opportunities for residents to improve their lives.”