“I get that the city involves some noise, but it’s not supposed to involve a 4 deep line of dump trucks all using a small neighborhood road as their parking/idling zone”

by Prince Of Petworth April 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm 76 Comments

3rd and L Street, NE

“Dear PoPville,

I’m having a problem with construction crews at 3rd and L St NE. This intersection is being illegally used as a staging area for dump trucks hauling away dirt from the new construction at 2nd and L (they’re finally putting in a building in the empty lot next to the Loree Grand building, where the old NoMa bootleg dog park used to be).

Literally dozens of trucks all start showing up around 6:45-7:15am for the first shift, and there’s simply too many of them for these small neighborhood roads to handle. The drivers are using the intersection at 3rd and L as their waiting zone by rolling up to the stop signs, and then not proceeding (pics attached). The dump truck drivers aren’t only illegally parking, but they’re also idling for extended periods (DC has a no-idling law and that’s supposed to be a $1000 infraction) but they’re also blocking the crosswalk. The worst is the the car traffic starts to back up behind them, not understanding the trucks consider themselves parked, so they all start honking at each other trying to get things moving.

I get that the city involves some noise, but it’s not supposed to involve a 4 deep line of dump trucks all using a small neighborhood road as their parking/idling zone, and it’s all so easily avoidable if the construction company was made to care about the residents of the neighborhood.

This is all to say, do you have any advice for how to get the police out here in the mornings to direct traffic (I’ve tried calling them numerous times to no avail) or hold the foremen accountable for how their trucks are operating with complete disregard? I’d love for there to be a post on this to get people’s advice and hopefully draw some attention to the issue. This construction is going to be happening for a long time; I want to nip this in the bud.”

  • textdoc

    Have you tried contacting/involving DCRA, your ANC Single Member District rep, and/or the MOCR liaison for your ward?
    DCRA doesn’t seem to have a very good track record of helping people in this type of situation, so you will probably need to get your ANC rep, your MOCR liaison, and possibly your councilmember to lean on them.

  • Nathan

    Have had the same issue in Bloomingdale with DC Water’s First Street Tunnel Construction. As much as we complain they keep making our lives unbearable.

    The last few days they’ve been working all night for unknown “emergency” issues. Now apparently they plan to continue to do the same for the next 2 weeks. 24 hours a day of a crane running, a tunnel boring machine vibrating houses….its fantastic.

    • [rrrrr]

      Definitely sorry that you have to deal with that, but honestly there’s a pretty big difference between a developer’s shady construction practices and some vitally important public works that benefit you as much or more than everyone else.

      • houseintherear

        Do a little research on this tunnel project. It was put together basically overnight, without neighborhood input, and under the guise of being a solution to flooding when it was actually a way to prep for development at McMillan. Flooding was a great excuse to use emergency funding, in short. Standard DC business.

        I have so much sympathy for the people up near the Adams tunnel site. We’ve only had a couple of nights of vibrating house where I am down near 1st and U, and it was awful. You can find me on twitter with this username… let me know if you ever need a guest room for a night!

        • Nathan

          Thanks – appreciate it. I’m trying to get them to cover a hotel room over these next 2 weeks of 24/7 work.

        • SeventhStreet

          Uh – the tunnel project has been ongoing FOREVER. My sister and her husband worked for consulting companies that were doing testing/drilling during the initial scoping of the project. My brother in law since then has gone back to college and been teaching for over 5 years so I think it’s a decade since he was doing that work. I would guess it took years to get the funding in place to do that part…

    • siz

      i mean they did say what the deal with the 24/7 TBM is, the conditions underground were more difficult to get through than they anticipated. i feel for you though.

      • Siouxsie

        If they really had experts who knew what they were doing, wouldn’t they have anticipated conditions underground or done proper testing before for a project of this magnitude? SMH.

        This Bloomingdale project has been the worst. After experiencing what it has been like to have this tunnel project down the street, I’ve lost all faith in DC city government or our representatives from the ANC, City Council or the Mayor. They ask residents to live with this fresh hell delivered day and night with what seems to be zero oversight by anyone who cares about citizens and taxpayers and zero accountability to holding DC Water and Skanska responsible to the neighborhood. And the joke of course has been on the neighbors here. With all the promises, handwringing and words that sounded like “we care so much about you” from DC Water or Skanska (the project manager) before the project started, they now do anything they want when they want: idling cement trucks, noise 24/7, generators, air horns, beeping trucks backing up at all hours, workers parking illegally and speeding down streeets, our blocks used as construction staging areas, jackhammers and total disregard to a neighborhood and quality of life for actual people.

        Would love to move this project over to George Hawkins’ neighborhood and see how long he would love having this intrusion. Probably about a day. (CEO of DC Water)

  • Cassie

    Have you tried contacting the police directly, or just 911? In my neighborhood we have the personal emails and phone numbers of three officers and a lieutenant, so they’re super responsive.

    • Cassie

      Sorry, not personal, but direct

    • anthony_

      Thanks. I’m the 3rd+L resident. I’ve called the police, as I wrote, but it didn’t help. Hoping that my new email contact with PSA 104 will be more helpful, but it wasn’t this morning.

  • neighbor

    Oh come on man. Can you imagine how hard it is to park one of those things in the city? Let alone 10? Development is good for the neighborhood and this is a part of it. It’s not like it’s going to last forever. And if you didn’t like crappy things, why move to NoMa in the first place?

    • NOMA Res

      I live in NOMA as well and understand that it is a developing area and we have to deal with things. There are plenty of empty lots or places to stage these vehicles without blocking traffic. At the very least they can have someone directing traffic as part of being a good neighbor. It is up to the city and builders to figure out how to build without causing unwarranted safety and/or traffic issues

    • pjl35

      1. You have no idea how long this person has lived there.

      2. Who cares how hard it is for someone to park a dump truck. That doesn’t mean they’re allowed to bring traffic to a standstill and “park” in a traffic lane.

      • neighbor

        1. Totally spurious.
        2. You saying you’ve idled in an illegal spot for a minute? Or double parked just to bring something into your house? Well this is basically that, just on a bigger scale.

        • pjl35

          No, actually, I don’t double-park because I’m not an asshole. And this isn’t idling in an illegal spot for a minute. This is idling IN THE TRAFFIC LANE. It’s also happening DAILY my numerous vehicles at the same time. Re-read the post.

        • Philippe Lecheval

          And there are some with the ability to know there’s a difference between a passenger vehicle idling in an illegal spot for a minute, and multiple dump trucks converging on an intersection while idling for extended periods.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      I see what you did there…

    • lawderly

      Also a huge difference between parking and idling. 10 Idling dump trucks causes a lot more noise than 10 parked ones.

    • some other neighbor

      So make ’em stage the trucks like they do for the convention center — which is out in Bladensburg in case you were wondering. The neighborhood is not a marshalling yard.

    • textdoc

      “And if you didn’t like crappy things, why move to NoMa in the first place?” Come on — “you deserve this because you moved to x neighborhood” is a ridiculous argument.
      It’s not an either/or situation of “development that causes major traffic gridlock and possible environmental issues” or “no development at all”; that’s a false binary. This developer needs to find a way to work with the community (and D.C. laws and regulations) rather than running roughshod over it (and them).

  • Thanks for the heads up on this. I’ve just reached out to Toll Brothers, who’s developing this site. That picture is ridiculous and there’s no way this complies with their trucking plan. (It’s actually DDOT who approves and monitors trucking access plans for construction sites, not DCRA.)

    • Cullen

      Get em, Tony!

    • anthony_

      Thank you, Tony! I’ll be in touch directly. I’ve got plenty more photos.

  • DC Vet

    I wouldn’t waste my time calling the cops, this isn’t something you can expect them to help you with.

  • Philippe Lecheval

    Because the campaigns of the city’s mayor and council are probably very well funded by this project’s developers, I don’t foresee anybody involved ever getting ticketed or fined over this.

  • HIll Easter

    Judging from the angle of the photo, it appears to have been taken from the Aria apt building. If I recall correctly, that building is relatively new and I’d be willing to bet that the construction crew for the Aria did something similar for that building. Glass houses and all…I do get that it is frustrating, though.

    • accendo

      I lived at the Loree Grand while the Aria was being built and I don’t recall similar issues, though the Aria is a much smaller footprint (less to move) than the Toll Brothers development.

      • anthony_

        That’s what I hoped to hear. And either way, two wrongs don’t make a right. What am I supposed to do, *not* speak up for the benefit of the whole block? Obviously not.

        • textdoc

          +1 on possible past wrongs (which doesn’t seem to be the scenario here anyway) not excusing a current wrong.

    • eva

      Ha this reminded me of a time last summer when one of my newer neighbors walked down the street to scream at the laborers working on a flip job 3 doors down from me. She was going on and on about them working on a Saturday and disturbing the neighborhood. Her own house had been flipped not 2 years prior, and I asked her what she thought us long time residents thought of that construction (which had in fact been way worse in terms of disruption than this later project).

      • Jo

        But what did she have to do with that construction? You could’ve complained about violations then, and she can complain about them now. What point were you even trying to make to her?

        • eva

          Construction on a Saturday isn’t a violation as far as I know. My point was that as someone who had just moved into a newly flipped house she seemed rather confused about how her house came to be in its current state. And my point was that the laborers working on the house in question are not the developer so if she wants to scream at someone (which was interrupting my afternoon porch time more than the construction noise) she might want to phone the people in charge rather than the guys they picked up at Home Depot that morning.

    • Jo

      Uh…so a resident can’t complain about construction crews breaking the law because other construction crews he/she had nothing to do with may have also broken the law? Makes no sense.

    • inrosedale

      and where, pray tell is hill east, and how long has it existed?

  • Former Avalon resident

    NoMa baby! I left the Avalon when they started digging behind it… 1st & M is a dump. Don’t live there, the digging never stops, and never will stop. Not a day passes by that I don’t smile thinking of how happy I am since leaving that post-grad hellhole.

    • pjl35

      I live in Camden…and at least the digging has stopped as of now. Phase II of my building has topped out at the Ava NoMa behind 1st & M is almost there too. Agreed though, I looked at 1st & M when I was moving to the area and am SO glad I live elsewhere.

      • pjl35

        *and the Ava NoMa, not at :)

  • Mike

    Had similar problem when I was living in Near SE. At least for the idling, I made some large copies of this sign & put them up along the road in front of my building. Drivers seem to take notice and either parked completely or waited elsewhere:


    • textdoc

      Good solution!

  • JH

    Since they are building the new REI location, why not call REI HQ and complain. I bet you’ll get a better response out of them then the locals. Especially since they claim to care about the environment, etc, as part of their whole deal.

    I work here at NOMA and drive over from C NE (since it has gotten too dicey to walk to work sadly with all that crime rate increase and such), and it is a dangerous hot mess of traffic with large trucks blocking visual ability to turn at these intersections near 3rd NE since they are basically “parked” and just idling, waiting their turn. It is going to get rank in the summer months….they have 2 guys directing traffic on 3rd St to help right in front of the construction zone where it might as well be a one way street due to all the trucks. The intersection on M and 3rd is even worse, since there is more foot traffic near the NOMA metro added to the mess.


    • jim_ed

      That’s not going to do much good considering the REI project is totally unrelated to the one mentioned here. But maybe you’ll get 10% off a kayak?

    • AbbeyPlaceResident

      Do you use your Zone 6 residential parking permit to commute to work and park in an area where you do not live? If so, your opinion about the NoMa neighborhood falls on my completely deaf ears.

      • anon

        Why would this be an issue? Until/unless the DMV starts issuing parking permits specific to a given ANC district, anyone with a Zone 6 permit can park in a Zone 6 space.
        What _would_ be a problem is if JH didn’t live in Zone 6 but somehow managed to obtain a Zone 6 Visitor Parking Permit and used it to park at work.

        • pjl35

          Also…JH said nothing about parking on the street. Most of the new office space in NoMa has underground parking.

          • AbbeyPlaceResident

            You’re right, I’m making a total assumption here, but anyone who lives on RPP streets near the NoMa metro station (like Abbey, 3rd, 4th, and M) sees a steady stream of cars with zone 6 stickers parking on residential streets in the NoMa neighborhood at 8:30am every morning. As anon said, it’s not illegal, but it is an irritant to those of us who live on these streets. I’m just whining a little bit. My apologies to JH if I’m incorrect about his/her parking.

          • JH

            FYI to the snooty posters, but yes as someone else pointed out, I have parking at my office at NOMA, and I both live and work in Zone 6 and legally have a Zone 6 so I can park anywhere I like AKA when I go get District Tacos at Eastern Market for dinner tonight, I’m parking Zone 6. Legally. Eating tacos. If I want to run over to work in NOMA after hours and grab something I forgot and park on the street I can do that legally as well because I’m legally Zone 6. Risk getting my car slammed into by a dump truck if I choose street parking during the day? No thanks. I feel for the residents in this area which is why I posted in the first place. They are technically in my neighborhood, my neighbors. It is a scene over in this area. And isn’t going to end anytime soon. I hope at least all the stress increases their property values when all is said and done!

  • JH

    And as a PS, the digging will never stop, that Sherwin Williams on 3rd St NE is not getting the rental contract renewed, the owner of the land wants to sell because the land is now worth $$$$$$, so let’s take bets on the size of the hole that will be dug for – more condos???

  • Hilly

    Reach out to your Councilman. My CM, Charles Allen, assisted with a very problem at the Hines project at Eastern Market this fall.

    It did involve some work on my part (documenting idling trucks, taking pictures, emailing them to the developer) but they offending behavior eventually stopped because the dump truck drivers were getting fined!

    • I forwarded this to the ANC Rep Tony Goodman who is looking into it as well.

      • anthony_

        Thank you!

    • saf

      Huh. My council member was NO help when the trucks for the Safeway construction were a problem. I finally managed to get the project managers cell number and called him every time there was a problem. That greatly improved things.

  • OP Anon

    Serious question: why do they idle for hours on end? It seems like a huge waste of fuel and it only a few seconds to turn the engine back on.

    • wd

      to keep the cement moving… otherwise the cement will harden in the truck which is obviously a pretty bad outcome.

      • anthony_

        These are dump trucks at this stage. All of them.

      • also anon

        …..the pic clearly shows these are all empty dump trucks and not cement trucks?

        • wd

          oops. It’s all cement trucks down here in SW lately, so that was on my mind.

    • Philippe Lecheval

      There was a time when diesel engines were harder to get started, especially when it’s cold outside. And there’s an old myth that idling a diesel engine uses very little fuel.

      • TinkerTaylor

        Myth? Have you seen the mileage VW gets out of their diesel engines? It’s unbelievable!

        • Philippe Lecheval

          Yes, but when it’s just sitting there, a truck still uses about a gallon of fuel an hour.

  • I can attest that this has been a major problem. I live nearby and commute through this intersection on my bike most mornings – traffic has been a terrible mess in the area. The city needs to revisit whatever traffic plan they approved for this site. Typically a worker directs the trucks coming in and out of the L Street construction entrance, holding up long lines of traffic since the trucks need both lanes of a two way street in order to make the turn in or out. Hopefully the trucking will let up once the excavation phase is completed.

  • Toll Brothers was actually very quick in getting back to me after I saw this post this afternoon. They will talk to their contractor right away to ensure they are following the approved trucking plan. That of course does not allow idling on neighborhood streets, and also does not permit driving on some of the routes clearly shown in the picture such as up & down 3rd Street NE. They will also investigate revising the trucking plan to move some of the access routes to 2nd Street, which is much wider, because L Street between 2nd & 4th was somehow approved by DDOT for their trucks but clearly is too narrow to work well.

    There has been a LOT of development in this area over the past few years, and even more is planned to start in the next couple years such as 300 M, 301 Florida, 301 N, and more. On the other side of the tracks, 33 N, 61 Pierce, 55 M and 1050 N. Cap are all under construction as well. It will certainly continue to be noisy and (at times) inconvenient, but I’ll continue to work to make things go more efficiently & quieter whenever possible. Luckily, it’s typically in the contractor’s best interests to keep their trucks moving smoothly and out of traffic jams too!

    • Ryan

      Wow, we can’t get government service of this quality out of a great many of the city’s salaried employees! Thank you!

    • anthony_

      They’re not even permitted for 3rd St? That’s amazing. Check out this picture I took. http://i.imgur.com/MfKujkC.jpg — that’s four trucks that all parked and idled on 3rd St on Monday morning making the cars single lane it past them (when they finally got the clue the trucks were “parked” — and even then they could barely squeeze past).

    • Thank you for your excellent service to the community, Tony!

    • textdoc

      +1 to Ryan and Enne. Nice work, Tony!

    • Shaw

      Tony, I don’t know who you are, and I’d never even heard of you before I read your two comments in this post, but based on that and that alone if you ever decide to run for an At-Large Council seat or for Mayor you’ve got my vote. I’ll even host a cocktail party to raise cash for your campaign. That you took immediate action and got such a solid response in one afternoon as an unpaid volunteer ANC Commissioner is absolutely amazing and we need to start electing more people like you to *paid* positions.

  • LOL

    “they all start honking at each other trying to get things moving.”

    … as if this ever works…

    • Cassie

      And it’s not legal either. Cities would be much more pleasant if police ticketed honking drivers in non-emergency situations.

      • Jo

        People are pretty thoughtless about honking in residential areas, but I understand this a little more than other situations. I mean, you could be stuck in a line of cars that is literally never going to move until the dump truck is called, and not understand the situation. I sympathize with that more than, say, the jerks who honk at midnight on my very small residential street because they have to wait *gasp* for somebody to disembark from a cab.

  • DRC

    So that’s where all those guys are coming from. Every project in DC that digs a hole in the ground ships their dirt down to PG county where they have created a huge mountain on the side of 210. So everyone that commutes on 295 south or 210 south has to put up with these dump trucks going insanely slow all the way down the fast lane because they eventually turn left a few miles down 210. So the one lane that isn’t full of patches and huge bumps is basically blocked for miles. Not to mention the times they randomly drop a bunch of dirt and gravel all over the road, or change lanes without signaling in front of someone going 20mph faster… These drivers clearly have no regard for anyone around, “I’m driving a big ol dump truck, I can do whatever I please”.

  • Mickey’s BFF

    This is a temporary problem, people! Where would you suggest they go to wait? I look right down on the site from my apartment in The Loree Grand and haven’t had any noise issues. Condo specs – double paned glass windows.


Subscribe to our mailing list