“Who do we contact to contact to request NO Smoking signs for our DC parks?”

by Prince Of Petworth May 13, 2016 at 2:15 pm 25 Comments

no smoking sign

“Dear PoPville,

Would you know who in our DC govt to contact regarding requesting NO Smoking signs for our DC parks?

I would like to start a campaign to request signage in our children’s playgrounds and I was hoping you could help direct me to the right agency/ person.

I did submit a complaint online to DC parks and Rec, but no response.”

  • paulcotton

    FTR, I hate smoking. I assume the OP wants these just for the playground areas and not the entire park. Otherwise, i am reminded for this David Sedaris piece:

    “I rode my bike to the boat pond in Central Park, where I bought myself a cup of coffee and sat down on a bench to read. I lit a cigarette and was enjoying myself when the woman seated twelve feet away, on the other end of the bench, began waving her arms in front of her face. I thought she was fighting off a bee.

    She fussed at the air and called out, “Excuse me, do you mind if we make this a no-smoking bench?”

    I don’t know where to begin with a statement like that. “Do you mind if we make this a no-smoking bench? There is no “we.” Our votes automatically cancel one another out. What she meant was, “Do you mind if I make this a no-smoking bench?” I could understand it if we were in an elevator or locked together in the trunk of a car, but this was outdoors. Who did she think she was? This woman was wearing a pair of sandals, which are always a sure sign of trouble. They looked like the sort of shoes Moses might have worn while he chiseled regulations onto stone tablets. I looked at her sandals and at her rapidly moving arms and I crushed my cigarette. I acted like it was no problem and then I stared at the pages of my book, hating her and Moses — the two of them.

    • textdoc

      In D.C. it’s a law situation, not a personal-preference situation.

  • shmoo

    is it not ok to smoke in public parks?

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know what the law is regarding parks but this smoker thinks it’s rude (i.e. “not ok”) to smoke around others who are not also smoking.

    • Truxton Thomas

      The concern is the proximity of smokers to the children’s playgrounds. To be sure, there is all sorts of sketchy behavior at D.C. parks (drinking and smoking while near or within playgrounds in use, vials and used condoms), but I’m not sure it hurts to communicate illegal behavior.

  • jcm

    You don’t need signs, you need a new law. It’s legal to smoke in public parks. If the city is going to start putting up signs banning legal-but-irritating behaviors, I’d also like to request No Spitting and No Toenail Clipping signs.

    • Anon

      No chicken bone tossing!

    • wdc

      +1 to no spitting.
      But really, why would OP want our city to spend money on these when you know they won’t ever be respected or enforced? It’s like putting a “no boys allowed” sign on your playroom door when you share the room with your brother.

    • Cassie

      I thought it was illegal to smoke in federal parks?

      • MtP

        I am pretty sure it is legal to smoke cigarettes in many areas of national parks. This is the issue with the DC ban, it doesn’t apply to many park areas within the city.

    • MtP

      The DC Council passed a law banning smoking within 25 feet of city parks, bus stops, recreation centers, etc.

      • MtP

        Sorry, meant to say in October of 2013. It also requries DPR to post signs. It is DC Act 20-1087, from October 17, 2013. I agree the signs won’t be that effective, but it is the law.

        • Ms. D

          I’m curious how enforceable this is. The outer limits of my building’s property line are somewhere in the range of 25′ from the outer limits of a city park (according to Google Earth, it’s about 30′, so I guess I’m clear, unless someone complains and I have to prove it). Other neighbors’ property lines are FAR closer (just across the alley). Could the city really say someone couldn’t smoke in their own back yard if it were within 25′ of a city park? Could they say someone couldn’t smoke on the sidewalk while walking by if the sidewalk abutted a large park (I’m thinking something like Langdon park which covers a large area and has numerous and extensive abutting public sidewalks that don’t run *through* the park)? This is especially troublesome for bus stops, which are often just “places on the sidewalk,” which mean that people would have to snuff their cig for a half-block every 2 blocks. And if they’re going to enforce the smoking rules, I really hope they include MJ, since I can often smell it wafting out of said public park 30′ away from my windows and forces me to close 2 of my windows so my house doesn’t reek…

    • atlascesar

      The law has been passed for years, but was never funded. http://www.openlims.org/public/L20-48.pdf search for L20-48 within the relevent DC Code http://dccode.org/simple/Title-7/Chapter-17/

    • textdoc

      As others have noted, it’s actually NOT legal to smoke in D.C. public parks (or in D.C. bus shelters). But I think most people are unaware of this — I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it printed on a freebie reusable bag I was given at the last mini-fair thing inside the former Murry’s.

    • jcm

      Wow, I had no idea that law had been passed. Thanks all for letting me know.

  • zandunga

    Parks have managers. Since there are laws restricting any time of smoking within 25 feet of public parks, you can report the park manager as not doing their job. If you really don’t like the smoking, call the cops.

    • Gloomingdale

      Yes, as always, resort to calling the cops. Enforcement of no smoking surely won’t have any racial disparities.

      • anon

        Or you could try confronting the smokers directly and asking them to obey the law by not smoking — I’m sure that’d go over really well.

  • ParkViewneighbor

    Smoking in public spaces is always a tough issue to deal with. It’s open air but there might be people around that do not appreciate the smell.
    I think OP has good intentions but since it won’t be respected, there are better uses of money

    plus the whole “our children” blurb is over-used

  • textdoc

    The OP might try contacting the D.C. Department of the Environment about signage.
    When I get home, I’ll look to see which D.C. government entity was responsible for the reusable bag I mentioned earlier.

  • victoria

    Seriously – choose your battles. Someone smoking outside near you is going to have zero harm. Zero as in zero. Annoying, maybe, but no harm. I’ve never smoked. Hate smoking. But smart enough to know that someone sitting outside nearby smoking will not cause harm.

  • Contact the Department of General Services. They are responsible for the physical environment.

  • CCinBloominhdale

    As a mother of two young children, of course I take issue with the cigarettes, but marijuana is at least as great an issue. It is not even legal to consume pot in public let alone in a playground. There is zero enforcement of the pot laws. At a time when we just have made great strides with smoking laws, I find it appalling that we are allowing what could be a positive advancement for pot laws to become a negative. I should be able to take my kids to a playground without having them exposed to tobacco or marijuana. We have had trouble at Harrry Thomas, La Droit park playground, Taft Recreation, and that doesn’t include walking down the side walk at anytime throughout the day.

  • Paul H

    Guess what kids: smoking hurts other people’s health.



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