Here’s something new (or at least to me) … I’ve started to see DC Government issued “Pick up after you dog” signs around the area. It was my understanding the District didn’t used to provide these signs. Has anyone else seen this around town?
Posted tagged ‘City services’
Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that Mayor Gray’s plan to replace the trash and recycling cans in 2014 is in trouble. The problem, it seems, is that the D.C. Council objects to the money-shifting strategy Gray has proposed to pay for the program that would impact about 75,000 District households. To pay for this, Gray proposed to draw from funds previously budgeted for the District’s retiree health-care fund, and this is something that concerns council Chairman Phil Mendelson. The garbage-can plan transfer involves $9 million.
I certainly hope the council and mayor can find a solution for funding new trash cans. Currently, resident are required to pay a fee for replacement cans. The fee is $62.50 for a Supercan or $45 for a 32-gallon trash can or recycling can. Senior citizens, age 60 and older, are able to pay $30 for a Supercan, or $20 for the 32-gallon trash cans and $20 for the blue recycling cans that are used citywide. For trash cans that can be repaired, the Department of Public Works will replace for free broken and/or missing wheels, tops and lift bars for 96-gallon Supercans.
While well maintained trash cans may not strike some as an important issue, in the fight to keep alleys clean and rodent free, they are essential. Improperly disposed of trash supplies food to rats and other wild animals which, in turn, contribute to greater health risks to the community.
Rats! Everyone hates them and our neighborhoods continue to work with the city to reduce the population. Last year’s warm winter made the population soar this summer. It has also been my experience that a big part of the problem is human behavior as we improperly dispose of trash and debris. If you’d like to know more about rats and how to get rid of them, consider attending the Ward 1 Rat Summit this Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 10:00 A.M. at the Columbia Heights Community Center, 1480 Girard Street N.W.
The full announcement is below (printable version here).
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
The D.C. Department of Health (DOH) is sponsoring a one day Rat Summit in each of the city’s eight (8) wards starting Saturday, November 9, 2013, in Ward One. Business owners, residents, neighborhood associations and community leaders are all welcomed to attend.
What prompted the Rat Summits?
DOH has received a number of citizens’ complaints about the increased rat presence throughout the city. In an attempt to abate the rat population, the Department would like to provide information and education to community groups, residents, and business owners on topics such as proper waste storage, rodent proofing, and their ability to assist with rodent abatement.
DOH has a number of featured guests and speakers lined up for the Summits. Councilmember Jim Graham, Ward One representative; Mr. Robert Corrigan, PhD. author of Rodent Control, A Practical Guide For Pest Management Professionals. Mr. Corrigan has authored more than seventy technical publications on pest control and the principal the “Development of IPM Rodent Plan.” Featured presenters ar Dr. Joxel Garcia, Director e Mr. William Howland, Director, the Department of Public Works; Mr. Nicholas Majett, Director, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The Directors will discuss their agencies role in reducing rats in the District.
The first Rat Summit will be held Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 10:00 A.M. at the Columbia Heights Community Center, 1480 Girard Street N.W.
Back in April I posted about SeeClickFix and the ability to report issues needing city attention to the citywide 311 call center through it. What I was most interested in at the time was how effective it might be. Here’s what I’ve found so far.
Graffiti requests on public property are taken care of quickly, generally within two or three days. I have had two instances where the ticket was closed without any actual work being done … but was able to have the issue addressed on the second time around.
Reported dead trees are marked quickly, also within a day or two. Requests for new trees are acknowledged, but as new trees are not planted until the late fall and winter, it is presumed that it will work well.
Sign replacement requests can be on the slow side (several weeks) … but they do tend to happen. My requests to replace signs faded beyond usefulness were fulfilled as were requests to replace missing traffic and street signs.
Has anyone else used this service? If so, what has your experience been? What works, what doesn’t work?
Around 8 a.m. yesterday morning, May 21, Councilmember Graham announced that the Ward One Clean Teams would soon be back in the neighborhoods helping to keep Ward One clean by staying on top of trash in some of our heavily traveled corridors. The program will cover 38 blocks in Ward One.
Park View’s section of Georgia Avenue fared well, with 10 blocks — or 26.3% of the blocks in the program — included (the area from Irving to New Hampshire). Columbia Heights also has a sizable section of 14th Street included in the program with 11 blocks (30%) starting at Columbia Road and ending at Spring Road.
The announcement, however, did not go unnoticed by those that think all of Georgia Avenue needs this kind of attention. This was especially true in Ward 4 where, apparently, only the section of Georgia Avenue north of Decatur Street and ending at Eastern Avenue has a Green Team of sorts. The Petworth section has been seeking a Green Team for the last few years now.
Below is the full text of Councilmember Graham’s email:
I am pleased to announce the Ward One Clean Teams will soon be back in full force in many of our neighborhoods – – covering a total 38 blocks throughout the Ward. I worked hard to get the funding back into place for this important service. I want to thank Mayor Vincent Gray, Chairman Kwame Brown, and Harold Pettigrew, Director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development for their help in re-establishing Clean Teams.
We have missed these services – – and value this work in our neighborhoods.
We are giving people a chance to rebuild their lives with jobs, while fulfilling this useful purpose. Charlie Whittaker successfully competed for this contract, and again has the supervision of this service. His able services are much appreciated.
Please look for Clean Team members in the neighborhoods below starting in the next few weeks. (Adams Morgan has had no lapse in their green team cleanups, due to a different source of funding, part private and part DC gov.)
§ Georgia Avenue—Georgia Avenue, NW from Irving Street, NW to New Hampshire Avenue, NW (Node 1, Pleasant Plains : Petworth, (10 linear blocks);
§ U Street—U Street, NW from 9th to 14th Streets; and the northside from 14th to 17th Streets, NW (6.5 linear blocks);
§ 14th Street MidCity—14th Street, NW from S Street, NW to Florida Avenue, NW (5 linear blocks);
§ 14th Street Columbia Heights—14th Street, NW from Columbia Road, NW to Spring Road , NW; and Park Road, NW from 14th Street, NW to Hiatt Place, NW (11 linear blocks)
§ 11th Street—11th Street, NW from Kenyon to Monroe Streets, NW(3 linear blocks)
§ Mt. Pleasant— Mount Pleasant Street from 16th Street, NW to Park Road, NW (3 linear blocks)
The start of an early growing season this year seems to have caught the District off guard. The city’s own grass cutting rules state that any resident who has grass that exceeds more than 10 inches in height, is untended, or creates a dense area of shrubbery that is a detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the public is in violation. Fortunately for most of us, we’re probably not in any danger of violating these rules yet. The 2011 season didn’t begin until May 1, and the same is probably true this year.
But, while rules for residents may not kick in yet, I think it’s a reasonable expectation for the District to respond appropriately as public space violates the city’s own rules. Nearly all of our reservations and parks have woefully overgrown grass this season.
After contacting the city, it was discovered that the new Department of General Services is now in charge of the District’s grass cutting. It was also discovered that they have not taken any action to date because they are waiting for the grass cutting contract with the city to be finalized.
As grass cutting season began on May 1st in 2011, one can only guess that the 2012 contract could soon be finalized and that our local reservations and parks may soon be maintained. However … one has to ask why contracts such as this one are not negotiated and signed at the start of the fiscal year. An early growing season like this year’s certainly shouldn’t create city-wide nuisance public properties.
While I’ve known about SeeClickFix for a while, I finally decided to put it through some paces and try it out this past Sunday and Monday. For those that aren’t familiar the Website/mobile apps, it’s an alternative to calling 311 for city services. When you see a problem in the community, you can report the issue via SeeClickFix and include a photo of the problem. The appropriate city agency will then acknowledge the issue and get the process started to resolve the issue.
Perhaps most interesting is that — unlike the service requests to 311 — you can see the other reports for service that have been submitted via SeeClickFix as well as create or follow service areas so that you can be alerted to issues as they are reported.
As an example, above is the service area created for Park View showing the locations of recent requests for service.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, over the last couple of days I submitted 34 service requests. It will be interesting to see how quickly these issues are resolved. The service requests broke down in the following areas:
- 26 reports for graffiti removal;
- 5 requests to replace faded or missing traffic signs;
- 2 requests to remove dead trees; and,
- 1 request to install street signs at the intersection of Georgia & Quebec (currently there are no signs to inform motorists which intersection they are at).
I hope to report back positively about this trial. If you have experience using this service, I’d be interested in hearing how it has worked for you.