Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How I know things are better: cars

One morning I observed a city owned tow truck moving a car on New Jersey Avenue and I was reminded of a question. The question was asked in relation to gentrification and changes in the neighborhood, and it was "what is better?" Because I say that things are getting better and one way I know the neighborhood has gotten better is with parking enforcement.
There was a time when cars would get dumped on our street and they would sit. For days and weeks. While they sat, they attracted trash that would collect under the tires. We STRONGLY suspected that our friendly neighborhood drug dealers used the cars to stash drugs. Then there were the cars that were stolen, some with broken windows.
Well as good citizens we'd call up the city and ask for the cars to go away and early on it seemed like we were ignored. Because I remember there was a car parked near or under the poo-poo tree and I reported it, several times. And it did not go away for over a month. I'd report it, wait a few days or a week and report it again. I pondered paying a tow truck to make it go away and ditch it in Maryland. But it eventually went away, but it wasn't the only car that was left unmoved.
Now, the city actually enforces the law. They ticket, a new thing that they started a few years ago. Also in the last few years they boot cars. I credit this to the demographic changes in the neighborhood with more active voters who try to hold the city accountable and demand decent city services. It is not that there weren't any politically or civicly active people here before, it's just that there are now more of them, which helps with burn out.

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At 9/23/2009 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ticketing, towing, and booting cars are all revenue-generating activities. With a budget deficit in the 100's of millions, DC will enforce laws if they generate revenue, or at least add to the "Accounts Payable" column of the city's books.

Expect to see more property abatement as well. The city will mow weeds and pick up trash on private property simply to bill the property owner; not because it cares about the neighborhood.


At 9/23/2009 6:24 PM, Anonymous Brandon Green said...

Policing traffic violations is one area in which DC excels.

At 9/25/2009 11:49 AM, Anonymous n. cap said...

is dc really any different from any city on this one? not from my perspective.

At 10/22/2009 11:57 AM, Blogger ed said...

DC polices parking violations in "better" neighborhoods because in other areas people just won't pay the tickets. It's easy money.

But if they were really serious about revenue, why didn't they enforce the vacant property tax and penalties for violating the vacant building maintenance standards? It's at least $50 million a year!

Traffic violations are not enforced in DC, for instance, talking on cell while driving, running red lights, speeding. Unless there is an automated camera of course.

At 10/22/2009 12:04 PM, Blogger ed said...

DC polices parking violations in "better" neighborhoods but not in other areas because people there simple won't pay.

Brandon surely you mean "parking" violations. Traffic violations are not enforced, e.g., running reds, speeding, talking on cell. Unless there is an automated camera.

If DC was really serious about revenue they would be collecting vacant property taxes and fines for violating the vacant building maintenance standard. I guess it is just easier to stick it to law abiding taxpayers.


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