Okay, here's the question: Would you rather be caught up in a drug bust or ticketed for "no standing any time"? The punishment for one would almost surely be greater than for the other.

Before expounding, recall that the late Al Capone, the bootleg-era gang boss of Chicago, was tripped up on a federal income tax rap although the potential charges against him could have ranged up to multiple homicides.

So, the D.C. police figure, if they can't catch you on a drug buy along Southern Avenue SE between 30th Street and Naylor Road, they may be able to hand you a traffic ticket. Consider the following official notice from the D.C. Public Works Department:

"Illicit drug related activities along the previously described portion of Southern Avenue SE . . . is a detriment to the public health, safety and welfare. The Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Department of Public Works are cooperating in an attempt to discourage this illicit activity by installing a restriction which will prevent motorists from standing within this zone.

"These rules will take effect immediately Jan. 17 . . . .

". . . Interested parties are invited to comment to the Department of Public Works, 613 G St. NW, Room 172, Washington, D.C. 20001, Attention Docket No. 85-282-TS." Any comments received could be interesting.