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Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

From a press release:

“The DC DMV should work with regional bicycling advocates to send information to all registered drivers about being mindful of bike lanes and the shared responsibility for safety, according to a letter sent from Ward 1 DC Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau today, National Bike to Work Day.

The letter asks the DMV to work with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and the D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council and would complement the work those organizations are doing to educate bicyclists about their role in being responsible commuters. The information could be included in already planned mailings such as annual registration notices, or sent as a standalone piece.

“Washington is a national leader in supporting bicycling infrastructure,” said Nadeau. “As biking to work grows in popularity, we need to ensure both drivers and bicyclists have all the information they need to help keep each other safe on the road. The DMV and bicycling advocates sending safety information to all registered drivers could go a long way to helping keep all the commuters who share our streets safe.”

The full text of the letter is below (more…)

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Wayan Vota

Thanks to a reader for passing on from DDOE:

“I’m writing to update you on your rain barrel installation. As of May 1, DDOE’s non-profit partner DC Greenworks unexpectedly closed and therefore is no longer installing rain barrels for the RiverSmart Homes program. We do not have an estimated date for your rain barrel installation, but you are at the top of our priority list. As soon as we have secured partners to provide installation services, we will be in touch with next steps.

In the meantime, we sincerely appreciate your understanding and patience as we work to resolve this issue.”

sneaky speed camera 1500blk of 22nd st NW

A reader tweets us about the photo above:

“Heads up – New sneaky speed camera 1500blk of 22nd st NW (southbound), right before 22nd & 23rd merge.”

and another reader tweets us:

“Speed camera on 395 N. coming from New York Ave. is back. Saw them setting it up this morning in middle of construction site. @PoPville”

Ed. Note: Yes, yes we should all just drive the speed limit. Noted. Thank you.

pain sculpture

A reader reports:

“So on Tuesday from 7am – 7pm there is street cleaning on the north side of Euclid Street between 13th and 14th streets. So on Tuesday by 7am, residents in zone 1 on that street must move their cars from the north side of the street to the south side; where it is zoned and acceptable to park only on Tuesday from 7am to 7pm.

When residents get home from work, they must move their cars back to the north side of the street at 7pm. Here’s where it gets tricky and the altercation occurred. To move your car right as the stroke of 7pm happens is near impossible, so residents usually move their cars between 6:30pm and 7pm. Yesterday my neighbor moved his car around 6:45, and there was a parking enforcement guy who begun giving tickets. I pointed this out to my neighbor as I had just gotten hope from work myself. The parking enforcement guy (real jerk about it), told him to move his car back to the south side quickly and keep it there till right at 7pm or he would give him a ticket. There was also another neighbor that had parked his car but was already inside so I had to call him to race down before the parking enforcement gave him a ticket. In the meantime, I stood in front of his license plate to block parking enforcement from taking a picture of the back or the front license plate, as they are required to do to issue the ticket; this was all occurring at 6:50pm, 10 minutes before parking is acceptable on the north side of the street.

The parking enforcement gentlemen became aggressive and yelled at me to move, which I refused. He took my picture; which is when I begun taking his; he even stepped out of his car to “flex his abusive power” over the residents of Euclid Street. After he left, post 7pm, he called the police and showed up with them, I was still standing outside with my neighbors, around 10 minutes later. The police did nothing but I was reprimanded for interfering with city government procedures, they say it could be considered assault and local government and firefighters are protected under this. I understand but at the same time, it just seems amoral to ticket like this.

All in all, it seems like a flawed system. How can you allow for no grace period? It seems like a racket to me, to come along and make people sit in their cars to move them right at 7pm would be chaos. It seems like just another way for the city to get money from ridiculously strict parking enforcement.”

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A reader reports:

“If you parked on the south side of the 1900 block of Calvert Street this morning you may have been ticketed and towed because it appears someone at DDOT didn’t do their job properly. The sign in the picture was just posted early this morning 5/12 despite having a printed date of 5/6 and an effective date of 5/9. I was outside late last night looking for these signs because I knew the repaving was scheduled to take place this week and confirmed that there were no signs as of 10pm. And yet the signs were up and parking enforcement was out there before I left for work this morning. She was just sitting in the car when I left and I didn’t have time to see if she would ticket anyone, but there are now reports on the Adams Morgan listserv that cars on that block were in fact ticketed and towed today. If this happened to you, you should be able to successfully contest it given the complete lack of advance notice. Compounding the DDOT ineptitude, it looked like someone was also granted a moving truck permit for today’s date along part of the stretch undergoing repaving. No idea how that was handled.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Kim Baker

“Dear PoPville,

I’m trying to find out if DC laws require condos and/or apartment buildings of certain sizes or generally to have evacuation plans in place. I called DC Homeland Security who told me to talk w/ DCRA. Two people there said “no, not us” and said it was the Fire Department. They transferred me and someone there put me into voice mail for the Fire Marshal (?) The outgoing message said I’d get a call back by the end of the business day or within 24 hours. This was Monday afternoon. It’s Wednesday and no call back.

Who knows if it’s required and/or who does one call to get help?”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Phil

“Dear PoPville,

I just wanted to let you know about a situation I discovered today when I was finally able to speak with a live person in the DC Taxpayer Service Center.

Our tax preparer filed our US federal and DC local tax returns electronically on 27 March 2015.
We were owed refunds from both US and DC. The fed IRS credited our account an amazing five business days later on 3 April.

We still haven’t received the DC tax refund as of today. When we would go online at the
DC income tax return status website, we to the same reply for a month:

“Your return has been received and your refund is being processed. Please check back in a few days.”

Every time I called the contact number, the wait was over 15 minutes. Finally today i did wait, and the nice and knowledgeable woman I spoke with quickly came back with an answer.

As I had no W2 form and my spouse did and the return was filed under my Social Security Number, the customer service representative said that the District was unable to confirm that my spouse had had withheld any DC taxes. This in spite of our return having both our SSNs on it!. She said DC has an old 1999 tracking system that is unable to track withholding like that and that the primary taxpayer on a joint DC return must have a W2 showing DC tax withheld.

When I asked her what would have happened if I had not finally got through by phone, she said the return would have just been held in “pending.” DC does not notify the taxpayer that anything is wrong or missing in a case like this.

She asked me to fax or email her a copy of my spouse’s W2 which she would add to the file so the return can be processed and the refund issued. I emailed the copy of the W2 minutes after speaking with her.

Now to see if that actually happens! And how long that takes.

So if anyone is waiting for a while for a refund. Call the Taxpayer Service Number on their website.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Peter Bjork

In August a reader wrote in sharing their Lessons of a Bad Home Purchase. WAMU did a follow up report this morning that is incredibly depressing:

“An October 2014 inspection of the house by Delaine Englebert, an illegal-construction inspector at DCRA, confirmed that there were numerous problems. She catalogued three dozen violations, including unpermitted work, unfinished inspections, insufficient fire-blocking throughout the house, new structural beams that are not properly supported, a deck not correctly attached to the home, a failure to insulate the house, and more.

To make the house livable again, Landis estimated the couple would have to spend $407,000 to correct all the existing deficiencies and code violations.”

Read the full report here (Part 1 of 3).

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“Dear PoPville,

Due to a recent injury, availability of handicap parking has, unfortunately, become a special concern in my household. (Thankfully, it’s an injury that will heal in a few months.) We’ve witnessed several frustrating examples of people misusing handicap parking, but this one takes the cake: Cop car taking up the only handicap parking spot for the building. And no, this wasn’t a quick in and out – the car has been there for an extended time. There are countless other spots that this cop could park in instead, since cops don’t have to worry about parking legally – I see cops parked all the time along the wall behind our building (which is labeled “no parking”) or at the end of a block behind the legal street parking. There is just absolutely no excuse for taking up the one spot reserved for disabled parkers!! Shameful! The annoying part is that there is no one to report it to – I’m sure that a complaint to the police would fall on deaf ears.”