The wheels of government grind slowly, and those of the District of Columbia often slower than others. But Sherwin Rubin of 3535 Yuma St. NW can take heart that the complaint he sent to city hall one year and 11 days ago has been heeded.

Rubin lives on the main stem of Yuma Street that extends westward from Connecticut Avenue, beginning opposite the Channel 7 TV studio. But, in a letter written Oct. 30, 1981, he told D.C. City Council member Polly Shackleton that his visitors and deliverymen -- and those of his neighbors -- too often are confused by the fact that there is yet another Yuma Street extending eastward from Connecticut Avenue a block to the south.

The result, too often, is that people heading for Rubin's neighborhood turn into the other Yuma Street, a houseless dead-end street that bears the name for no reason any current city official knows.

Rubin's proposed solution would have been as confusing as the problem it was designed to solve. Because a short stub of pavement called Idaho Avenue intersects Connecticut Avenue directly across from the phantom Yuma, he would have named the latter Idaho Avenue. The Idaho stub is where that avenue would terminate if it ever were extended through the present University of D.C. campus.

The council's transportation committee looked at the map and decided that, since the phantom Yuma is on line with Windom Place, several blocks to the west, that should be its new name.

The council's committee of the whole approved the bill yesterday. The council must act twice, first on Nov. 16. Then, would you believe, Congress has to review it. At best, Rubin's suggested change will come next spring--at the cost of an estimated $100 worth of street signs.

By the way, does anybody know who -- or what -- was Windom?