The Washington Post

City’s response to parking complaint: ‘WE DONT TICKET OUR OWN’

This is what one cyclist encountered on Wednesday morning on the 2000 block of L Street NW. (Photo by Dave Salovesh)

Updated 8/11 with additional DDOT response

Dave Salovesh was biking down the L Street bike lane Wednesday morning when he encountered a significant obstacle: A van belonging to the city transportation department.

It’s bad enough when private vehicles park illegally in the lane, but call it doubly frustrating when a government van from the very agency that installed the cycletrack is blocking it.

After tweeting a picture to DDOT, Salovesh logged into the SeeClickFix system used by the city to track public service requests. He reported the van’s location and tag number and described the scene: “Parked completely blocking the L Street cycletrack, no driver in vehicle. Passenger in vehicle laying back and smoking.”

“I’ve reported plenty of issues in the past, and the response was so disappointing that I had stopped bothering,” Salovesh said in an e-mail Friday. “However, because of increased awareness of the challenges to bicyclists in the downtown area I decided to give it another try.”

No such luck. The complaint was forwarded to the city, but closed 27 minutes later by a “Verified Official” with a brief explanation: “NO VIOLATIONS @231PM #198″

Later that night, Salovesh reopened the request. “Please report back once the DDOT driver is identified and retrained about bike lane parking restrictions,” he wrote.

Nineteen minutes later, the “Verified Official” responded thusly: “WE DONT TICKET OUR OWN………..DDOT AT WORK ………”

Reggie Sanders, a DDOT spokesman, said Friday he was investigating the circumstances around the van being parked in the bike lane. As a general matter, he said, “Unless specifically approved to do so, meaning the completion of work assignments, it is inappropriate for our fleet vehicles to block the roadway, or bike lanes.”

Sanders did not have any information on the “Verified Official” or that person’s response. Service requests are funneled through the city’s Office of Unified Communications. On Saturday afternoon, DDOt Director Matt Brown responded to Salovesh on Twitter:

Salovesh’s reaction to the “WE DONT TICKET OUR OWN” remark? “I … realized that nothing had changed about D.C.’s 311 services or DDOT’s approach to supporting cyclists in daily operations,” he said Friday. After Brown tweeted, Salovesh replied, “I look forward to the chance to work with [DDOT] and [311] to make things better!”

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