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“Over 30 streetlights out after dark in the upper 14th Street corridor in Columbia Heights”

by Prince Of Petworth August 11, 2016 at 12:55 pm 37 Comments

street light out
Ed. Note: I’m not attaching all the photos of lamps out but I vouch they were in the original email

A reader passes on a letter sent to the Mayor’s Office:

“I went out again last night, August 10th, to review the locations where I had observed streetlights out the night before. I went east on Park Road NW from 16th Street to 14th Street, NW; headed south to Columbia Road, then proceeded north along 14th Street NW. I extended my walk further north to Arkansas, then went east to Georgia Avenue before returning on Arkansas west to 16th Street, north to Newton Street, east to 17th / Mt. Pleasant Street.

My observations are listed below as to what locations I observed
streetlights out and the time. Some key points are:

– Over 30 streetlights out after dark in the upper 14th Street corridor in
Columbia Heights
– 3 streetlights out in immediate proximity to where the fatal homicide
occurred last week in the 3500 block of 14th St. NW
– 3 streetlights out on Arkansas Ave NW on the north side of Peoples’
Congregational Church, UCC
– 3 streetlights out at the intersection of Park Road NW and Mt. Pleasant
Street NW

I did not observe any repair work being done during my walk.

Location of Streetlights Out Time Observed

1519 Park Road NW 9:10
Opposite 1519 Park Road NW 9:10 pm
1448 Park Road NW 9:12
1426 Park Road NW 9:13
On Park, side of 3100 14th St NW 9:13 pm – side
of 3 Letena Restaurant
3 at 3100 14th Street NW 9:17 pm –
front of Modell’s, Payless, and Bed Bath & Beyond
3101 14th Street NW 9:17
pm – in front of BB&T bank
3029 14th Street NW 9:20
3023 14th Street NW 9:20 pm
On 14th, at side of 1319 Col. Rd NW 9:22 pm
3014 14th Street NW 9:25 pm
3016 14th Street NW 9:26 pm
3020 14th Street NW 9:27 pm
1400 Irving Street NW 9:28 pm
– side of Five Guys
3115 14th Street NW 9:31 pm
Park Rd & 14th Street NW 9:32 pm –
by Z Burgers
3314 14th Street NW 9:34 pm
3328 14th Street NW 9:35 pm
2 on Monroe at 14th Street NW 9:37 pm – these
came on and off again at sw and nw corners
3405 14th Street NW 9:38 pm
2 at 3420 14th Street NW 9:40 pm –
directly in front of Eng. Co. 11
2 at 3460 14th Street NW 9:44 pm
Meridian Pl. NW, side of 3443 14th St. NW 9:46 pm
1417 Otis Street NW 9:51 pm
3540 14th Street NW 9:52 pm
3521 14th Street NW (at Parkwood) 9:54 pm
On Spring Rd, side of 3619 14th St NW 9:56 pm
On Ark. Ave, side of Upshur Rec Center 10:11 pm
Arkansas & Buchanan Streets NW 10:17 pm
2 on Ark. Behind People’s, near Iowa 10:21 pm
Decatur & Arkansas 10:23 pm
In triangle park, Ark. & Delafield Sts NW 10:26 pm
3620 16th Street NW 11:12 pm
3 at Park Rd. NW & Mt. Pleasant 11:23 pm (see 1673
Park Road, NW, and 2 opposite it)”

  • DCDude

    I’m just loving the Bowser era (sarcasm)… It’s like no one is paying attention anymore at the Wilson Building.

  • MtP

    Submit a request to 311 online. It is easy, and I did it two weeks ago and a repair crew was out there two days later. Honestly, no need to send this to PoPville, or even the mayor – 311 works very well for things like this.

    • loganhc


    • 14th Street resident

      Thanks to the person who did this. I live in the neighborhood and appreciate their attention to the issue. MtP, I think the streetlight scout knows how report this issue and is expressing frustration that so many streetlights could be out in the neighborhood without the DDOT, MPD or anyone Wilson Building being aware and doing anything about it. You would think a cop investigating a homicide on a public street would notice three streetlights being out. However, “That’s Not My Job” being the official slogan of DC government employees, nobody tells there seems to give a damn about preventing issues, or ever correcting them.

      • [rrrrr]

        I agree with you in general, this seems excessive. I would however say that too many residents take a “not my job” attitude as well. My friends were shocked when I whipped out my phone to report a power light outage to 311 as we walked along 14th St. The city probably should be better at identifying and preventing problems like this, but I’d be willing to guess we could all do more to report them and hold the city accountable.
        Props to OP for doing some leg work. And it’s good to have the positive example of proactive engagement public here.

        • MtP

          This is a better-said (and less snarky, sorry) version of what I was getting at. Its great the OP did the work and contacted the Mayor, and the fact that so many lights is out is absolutely ridiculous, but there are avenues for these things that, in my experience, actually work quite well. I’ve had several good experiences with 311, from reporting streetlights being out to reporting rat problems in an alley. But, definitely thanks to the OP for being vigilant – it is better than just ignoring it and hoping someone else fixes it!

          • Anon

            +1 The other day someone wrote to the H St NE listserv to request that “someone” call 311 to ask for rat abatement on their block.

    • P. Lecheval

      Then maybe things have gotten better under the current administration. A few years ago when Gray was still mayor, I had submitted multiple requests trying to get just one streetlight fixed, and this was west of the Park. It took weeks and weeks before they got around to fixing it.

    • K

      This. I have the 311 app on my phone and find it useful for reporting illegal dumping, broken street lights, etc. I live along Marvin Gaye Park in Ward 7 and when ever I see a light out along the park or bike path I take a pic and submit the picture along with a request through the app. The lights have always been fixed pretty quickly (within a few days).

      • K

        Also, send this to your ANC commissioner. Stuff like this is kind of what they are for. It might take more then 24 hours but they can make sure someone pays attention to the 311 request.

    • Dcrez

      Sometimes it works. Other times not so much, like when they “close” an issue as “resolved” without doing anything whatsoever. I have luck about 50% of the time.

      • Anonymous

        I made a request to have the catch basin fixed at 16th and Lamont, and received a notice that the issue was resolved. Three years later and the issue has never been fixed. Turns out two different agencies were playing hot potato with the request, so they eventually opted to do nothing instead.

      • Tiernan Meyer

        +1. I’ve had probably 50-50 success with 311. Most recently, I called 311 about a crosswalk light that was turned (so that pedestrians couldn’t actually see it). Called again two days later when it wasn’t fixed and then submitted a request online. I first heard back from my online submission weeks later.

      • Paul

        I’d say about 75% of the things like this I’ve reported get marked “resolved” with absolutely nothing actually getting done. Sidewalk repair, traffic signal malfunctions, blighted building enforcement, rodent abatement, etc. I once reported a parking enforcement violation, though, and they sent the cavalry in literally two minutes.

        But Grade DC says we resident give the city agencies high marks, so nothing to see here!

  • abdc

    Re:311. We’ve had a broken fire hydrant spraying water for the past 4 days on Webster, and 311 just says ‘they know about it’ Still not fixed, and wasting water…

    • G

      Did you tweet DC water? They are usually very responsive via twitter.

    • 14th Street resident

      That might be an issue for 911. Same office, but this might actually generate a response from the fire department, whereas a 311 call is probably being routed to DC Water. That’s how disjointed the Office of Unified Communications is.

    • madmonk28

      Yeah, the first day I drove by, I assumed it was running for a reason, like a test or something, but it’s been running all week and no one at 311 cares.

    • K

      That is probably a DC Water issue. They are really responsive if you tweet them. I’ve tweeted about leaking fire hydrants or broken water mains and seen crews respond that day.

  • There’s one on the 1700 block of Irving (Mt. Pleasant) that has been out for a while.

  • Bumbling

    Please report to 311. There are yellow placards on light posts with pole numbers. For faster repairs report these numbers as well. I do this all the time with alley lights behind my home, the issue gets resolved rather quickly. It takes concerned citizens– like you– to report this kinda stuff. Thanks!

  • Mt. P

    Call Nadeau’s office, your ANC rep, and 311. Although have to say, have been incredibly underwhelmed by Nadeau.

    Depending on the issue, the city agency that 311 refers you to may or may not be very responsive. So yes, putting this on PoPville and calling elected officials is helpful to speed things along. FYI the servicing agency for street light repairs is DDOT.

    From 311’s website (note that you can submit repair requests online):
    The scheduled response time for this request type [streetlight repair] is as follows: Investigation: 2 days Street or alley light bulb replacement: 5 business days Street or alley photo cell replacement: 5 business days Day burner: 5 business days Globe replacement: 5 business days Dim light because of ballast assembly: 5 business days Defective fixtures: 30 business days No current to light: 15-60 business days Replace knockdown pole (new): 45 business days Replace knockdown pole (in back log): 180 business days After investigation and approval, it may take approximately 4-6 months for completion.

    • 10thSt

      This. Nadeau has been a huge disappointment.

      • textdoc


  • bruno

    “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” — Dionne Warwick.

    • bruno

      oops! comment went to wrong post… :^0

      • Truxton Thomas

        I think it works.

  • Columbia Heights Res

    Thank you, OP!

  • TJ

    The insinuation in this post is that lights reduce crime. But what evidence there is on the subject is mixed with numerous statistical comparisons that suggest more lighting doesn’t reduce crime.

    • Truxton Thomas

      But they do allow pedestrians to see after dark, so that’s something.

      • Marty

        but the thugs can also see me. I’d rather slink around unnoticed.

    • textdoc

      Are those studies about adding additional streetlights?
      The OP isn’t requesting that new streetlights be added — just that the existing ones be made to work. That seems like a pretty reasonable request.

  • Meghan

    Any idea if it has anything to do with the light at 14th and Newton being just a flashing yellow? Crews were working in the area a few days ago but it’s been yellow for two days I think, and no crosswalk signals either.

    • lizcolleena

      This has been really annoying because a lot of cars don’t bother to slow down and many in fact speed up because they think they can just make it through a yellow. I live right there and have been walking up or down a block to cross the street which is generally no big deal, but when it’s so humid out the extra distance (especially when really sunny) is a pain for me and my Newfie.
      I haven’t seen any crews for a couple days either, which makes me wonder if it’s going to be resolved anytime soon.

  • alanetterouc

    Thank you for bringing these items to our attention. Each one has been assigned to the appropriate agency for resolution, and we are assured repairs will be done as swiftly as possible. Please know you can call 311 to request services. Visit https://dc311.secure.force.com/ to make a request via email. And you can Tweet us @311DCGov with your service request.

    Thank you!

    Alan Etter, Office of Unified Communications @Alan_Etter

  • InTheDark

    Same issues all through the residential parts of Adams Morgan. The lights in our back alley have been out for weeks and it’s pitch black. A few of us have reported but no progress yet. Ugh.

  • Thought

    That’s our Brianne!
    Speaking of, I contacted her office 2 years ago when DC awarded a new contract to a French company to replace all the streetlights with LED lights. I suggested that this would be a great way to deter crime on 14th Steet, and get this – I pointed out that it would be a great accomplishment to point to in the next election! I mean, it’s like stealing candy from a baby!
    The response? Crickets. Absolute crickets…
    It’s like she isn’t even trying.


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