I unfortunately had to call 911 a couple of days ago as a witness to violent altercation and had to wait about 3 minutes to get a 911 operator (was put on hold).
Any thoughts as to how to look into this issue that could be a matter of life and death for future 911 callers?”
Ed. Note: On the Office of Unified Communications website there is a 911 Customer Service Satisfaction Survey, unfortunately when I checked it this morning there was a The page cannot be found error message.
In my 6 plus years living in the District, I have usually shrugged off others’ claims of DC government incompetance as overblown, as I had yet to experiance it first hand; that is until Wednesday November 27th.
On that morning, I walked out of my apartment on 16th St around 745AM to get in my car and make the trek up to New England to visit my family for the holidays. Only when I got outside, my car was gone. Knowing that DPW often courtesy tows vehicles for unexpected street closings/repairs, I went to the DMV site to see if that had happened. When I entered my plate number into the site, it indicated that my car had been towed and impounded. The peculiar thing was that my car had been legally parked and I had no outstanding/defaulted parking tickets.
I cabbed down to DMV adjudication services to figure out what was up, and after speaking to multiple individuals, a very polite and professional supervisor indicated to me that my vehicle had been towed and impounded in SW. The best explanation they could come up with was that DPW had seen that I had multiple tickets (which were all under appeal and were later thrown out), and mistakenly towed my vehicle. The supervisor indicated that unless multiple tickets have been adjudicated or doubled, and are over 60 days delinquent, DPW has no legal right to tow my vehicle. Seeing that none of those conditions applied to me, I was shortly thereafter ushered to an administrative hearing where the original tickets were dismissed, as well as the tow and storage fee. Although the DMV employees gave me a half-hearted apology, no one could ultimately explain to me why DPW towed my vehicle in the first place. Additionally, when asked what could be done by others in the future to prevent this from happening to them, DMV could not come up with an explanation.
To put it mildly, this is not acceptable. DC not only delayed my trip by four hours, but they also cost me over $40 in cabs fees getting down to DMV and to the impound lot, that I will never get back. To make matters worse, when I visited the DMV site on Friday, the site still said my car was impounded and was accumulating additional storage fees (this was later corrected as well by a supervisor). Hopefully this post will encourage DMV and DPW to fix there process so that someone else’s car isn’t mistakenly towed as well.”
“Mayor Vincent C. Gray joined other District leaders today to announce that the Department Public Works (DPW) will begin distributing new Supercans in January 2014 to residents who receive once-a-week trash collection services from DPW. Mayor Gray made the announcement at a press conference attended by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary M. Cheh, Chairperson of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, and Kenyan McDuffie, Chairperson of the Committee on Government Operations. DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. and District Department of the Environment Director Keith Anderson also participated in the press conference.
“I know there are a lot of people inquiring about when they will get their new Supercans. I also know many people have communicated through Grade.DC.gov that they have outgrown the 32-gallon recycling can and need more capacity,” said Mayor Gray. “I am happy to announce the wait is almost over. Starting in January, the Department of Public Works will begin delivering new Supercans and 64-gallon recycling cans to the 75,000 households that receive once-a-week trash and recycling collection services from DPW.”
Mayor Gray noted that by increasing capacity for residents to recycle, the District takes a significant step toward achieving the Sustainable DC Plan’s target of diverting 80 percent of the waste stream through recycling, composting, and waste conversion.
DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. said, “Residents of twice-a-week trash collection neighborhoods will get new 32-gallon trash cans and they will receive 48-gallon recycling cans, which are 50 percent larger than the current 32-gallon recycling cans. DPW will begin delivering these new cans in the spring. We expect that all 105,000 households will have their new trash and recycling cans by July.”
More than 10 years have passed since the District’s supply of Supercans was refreshed. Proper containerization of trash is a major defense against rats and other animals.”
“The event is designed to help District residents, small business owners and their employees learn about and shop, compare and enroll in quality health insurance plans that best meet their needs and budgets. The event will feature a variety of activities including enrollment Q&A, demonstrations, and one-on-one assistance with enrollment experts. Attendees can participate in free health screenings, Zumba and yoga demonstrations, entertainment, appearances by DC United soccer players and more.
WHEN/WHERE: Saturday, November 23, 2013: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
901 G Street, NW
Morning Session: 10:00 am-12:00 noon
· Official opening and remarks, DC Health Link’s Executive Director, Mila Kofman, Councilmember Yvette Alexander, Chair of the Committee on Health, Board members of DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority, Acting Director of DC Public Library, Joi Mecks, and others.
· DC Health Link presentation, demonstration and Q&A.
· In-person assistance for residents seeking to enroll in health insurance.
· Workshops for small business owners.
· Free health screenings, Zumba and yoga sessions.
· DC United soccer players.
Afternoon Session: Noon-3:00 pm
· Remarks by Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.
· DC Health Link presentation, demonstration, and Q&A.
· In-person assistance for residents seeking to enroll in health insurance.
· Workshops for small business owners.
· Local entertainment.
· Free health screenings, Zumba and yoga sessions.”
@311DCgov reminds us that DPW will replace lids, bars, and wheels for free on Supercans. From DPW:
“DPW will continue to replace lids, bars and wheels for free on Supercans and the 32-gallon trash and recycling carts. Supercans that are older than 10 years may not be able to be repaired because the manufacturer no longer makes those lids, wheels or lift bars. Repair requests may be made by calling 311 or placed through the 311 web site, http:/311.dc.gov.”
If you need a new one – “Non-seniors will continue to pay $62.50 for a Supercan or $45 for a 32-gallon trash cart or recycling cart.”
“Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham is tired of the “monstrosities” growing from the tops of rowhouses, and he wants the Zoning Commission to do something about it.”
Following is Council Member Jim Graham’s full statement to the zoning commission last night:
“Good evening Chairman Hood and Zoning Commissioners.
I want to congratulate the Office of Planning, the Zoning Task Force and the Zoning Commission for taking on the Zoning Regulations Review (ZRR) and for the comprehensive, and effective process that has been created as part of revising our 1958 Regulations.
I have come here today not with answers but with questions and an inquiry of you. Over the past few years, everyone knows from observation in Ward One and elsewhere, an issue that has come to be known as “Pop Ups”. That happens when infill development dramatically differs in massing and design from the existing buildings. To some extent, I have already raised the issue at a Council hearing with OP Director Tregoning. I suspect this is a complex issue, one that involves change, economic development, design, zoning, planning and the pattern of preservation and growth of neighborhoods. As part of the ZRR (Zoning Regulations Review) process and the forthcoming zoning regulations, are there new means to address this situation? What is the authority of the Zoning Commission to do so? Is there legislation that I might introduce?
The fact is that many of the ‘Pop Ups’ comply with the current zoning regulations. Context is part of the issue —–that is, how does the massing integrate or not with the surrounding buildings? I understand the reason “pop up” projects are created and perhaps become controversial involves numerous issues, such as:
Older areas are rezoned thus new structures may be different in massing, height and even use.
The increase in new infill projects in existing neighborhoods may be a direct reflection of the increased demand and value of a neighborhood and area, and the desire of profits.
Execution and administration of compliance with the zoning regulations may not be equitable throughout the City– are illegal (non zoning compliant) developments allowed in certain areas or overlooked? Are there “Pop-Ups” in Georgetown or if not, why not?
A project’s design is new or of poor quality and differs from the existing nomenclature. Is there proper review for these types of occurrences? What body has or should have jurisdiction? How do we create an environment that will encourage good urban development and not be over burdening with numerous reviews often by those not qualified for such tasks?
What controls can Government have on areas that are changing and buildings that are constructed in compliance with current zoning and building regulations?
It is clear to me that Zoning is a tool (local governments) used to manage the physical development of land and regulate its use in order to protect our residences while enhancing their quality of life.
Can the Zoning Commission review neighborhoods that were rezoned to levels that are dramatically different than the current building context to see if the zoning is appropriate for today and for the future?
It is my understanding that in the ZRR, the Office of Planning and the Zoning Commission are not proposing to lower the permitted height of structures in any zone. That is, as part of the Zoning Regulations Rewrite, the City is not being remapped and Zone Districts are not changing.
There is however one change to how height is measured in lower density zones – I am advised that, currently, height is measured to the underside of the top story, allowing additional massing above that height. I understand that OP has proposed to change this to measure height to the mid-point of a pitched roof or the top of a flat roof. This can result in a reduction in the massing and visual height of the building.
This may be an excellent way to manage more contextual or sympathetic heights of new structures, without requiring the burden of design review or review by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). Are there other ways the new zoning regulations may address the issue?
I understand that the ZC can address any issue related to zoning, (and is in fact an unchecked legislative body). Are your intentions to address the issue of “POP Ups” in some form or fashion?
The height, use and lot occupancy in every neighborhood can be restricted, and it is restricted in every area of the City by zoning.
However, if new structures are to only match what currently exists then there is a simple course of action, Zone areas to reflect what is there. I am here this evening with questions. What is the Zoning Commissions intent in addressing the issue of “Pop Ups”?
Is there any authority vested with the Zoning Commission that addresses this issue, aside from remapping and down zoning areas with existing structures?
As I think most of the “Pop Ups” are conforming to zoning regulations (otherwise there would be an address to their existence), are there other means or thinking within the DC government to address these circumstances?
I am aware that this is a rather complex topic, but I request that you provide for me answers to the inquires made this evening and to provide me with an idea of how the ZRR and Zoning Commission intents to address the issue of “pop ups”.”
“The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) announced today that weekly residential mechanical street cleaning will end for the season Thursday, October 31, 2013. “No Parking/Street Cleaning” restrictions will be lifted and motorists may park on posted, alternate-side, daytime sweeping routes without moving their cars on street-cleaning days. All other parking restrictions will remain in effect. Residential street sweeping will resume Monday, March 3, 2014, weather permitting.
Residential street sweeping is suspended for public safety concerns and to allow the employees to transition to leaf collection duties, which start November 4. The sweepers release a fine spray of water to control dust as they sweep. When the temperature is at freezing or below, the spray can freeze and cause hazards for vehicles and pedestrians.
Overnight sweeping along the District’s major roadways, e.g., Pennsylvania, Georgia, Constitution, and Independence Avenues, will continue all winter, as weather permits. Motorists should obey the street sweeping signs posted along these streets.
By suspending the street sweeping program, DPW personnel can focus on leaf collection, which runs from November 4, 2013 through January 11, 2014 as well as the upcoming snow removal season. Leaves will be removed from neighborhood treeboxes at least twice, following the schedule that can be found:
Loose leaves raked into the treeboxes or bagged leaves placed there will be collected and composted. During the last two weeks of leaf collection season (December 29-January 11), DPW will collect holiday trees and other greenery from residents whose trash is collected by DPW. The trees and greenery should be placed where their trash is collected. Please remove all ornaments and lights and do not put the tree(s) in a bag.”
A little bit ago I left my building and discovered seemingly brand new emergency no parking signs placed between approximately 15th and Chapin NW and 15th and Euclid NW put up by DDOT.
At least towards Euclid there is no way these signs were put up any earlier than this morning. Yet the emergency no parking period starts October 11 and goes through October 19. (Maybe this all has something to do with the government reopening?)
While I was taking pictures of the signs a gentleman who has been doing construction work in my building for the past couple of days provided that the signs were put up this morning and that he hadn’t seen anything the last couple days. I did not see anything either, despite checking on my car each evening this week. The gentleman also said that he saw cars being relocated earlier this morning.
After previously getting towed from an emergency no parking zone that I suspect had improperly displayed signs, I feel fortunate that I happened to be home and was able to move my car. Unless DDOT has a very good explanation this seems highly improper.”
“Today the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced it has started to distribute the 2013/2014 Visitor Parking Pass (VPP). The new passes are being distributed via mail to households located in Wards 1, 3, 4, 5 and parts of Ward 6 (H Street and Ballpark District) and DDOT plans to complete the mailing by December.
The residents in these Wards may expect to receive their pass no later than December 2013. (more…)
“Text as Prepared for Delivery of Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Address to Residents on Effects of Federal Shutdown
Calls on Residents to Demand Congress Release District from Crisis
Address to District Residents on Effects of Federal Shutdown
October 10, 2013
Good evening. Tonight, once again, the 632,000 residents of the District of Columbia find ourselves trapped in a terrible and unprecedented predicament.
What’s worse and, frankly, more galling, is that this predicament is one we had no hand in making, and one from which we can be rescued only by a legislature in which we have no voting voice. That legislature is, of course, the United States Congress, which right now seems hopelessly stalemated over a number of partisan issues.
Unfortunately, the District’s own money is caught in the middle of this tug-of-war.
Yesterday, I stood with our non-voting Congresswoman, Eleanor Holmes Norton, on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol building to demand that Congress and President Obama take action to free the District’s local budget from this manufactured crisis and let us spend our own locally-raised funds to provide critical services.
Services – like reimbursing Medicaid providers who care for people who are poor and disabled, or paying our public charter schools, or collecting our garbage – services that the residents of every other city and state in America take for granted, because they are services that will continue for every other city and state in our country during a federal shutdown.
Tonight, I want to talk to you about why we are in this crisis, what I have done to mitigate the harm it has caused, what the current status of the shutdown’s impact on the District of Columbia is, and what our 632,000 residents can do to help. (more…)