SOME USEFUL INFORMATION
General information on the District of Columbia can be found at the DC government web site.
The District of Columbia has a strong directly elected mayor (currently Vincent Gray). There is a central "hotline" for requesting most city services, at 311. Or you can file a service request at http://dc.gov/citizen/request.shtm. In either case you should be given a tracking number that can later be used to check the status of a request. (Note that this central service center is far from infallable.)
The District of Columbia Council is composed of eight ward council members and five at-large council members elected District wide. Caroline is now in Ward 2. (Ward maps site) (The web site is not very well organized - when you get to a page for a ward, you must click on "ward x 2012 boundary" - where "x" is the ward number - to get ot the actual map.)
Our ward councilman is Jack Evans. You can e-mail him at JACKEVANS@dccouncil.washington.dc.us with policy comments and complaints (or compliments) about city services. But remember that the council does not run the agencies, the mayor does.
Caroline Street is in precinct 141. (You can see a map of voting precincts at http://www.dcboee.org/maps.asp) We vote at the Reeves' Center, 14th & U, on election day. For early voting, check the list of available places for each election. There is a form for voter registration at https://www.dcboee.org/voter_info/register_to_vote/ovr_step1.asp.
The District has an additional level of citizen involvement, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. There are 37 ANCs in the District's eight wards. An ANC consists of representatives (commissioners) elected by neighborhood Single Member District (SMD). The commissioners are unpaid volunteers. The city's ANCs advise the District government on issues related to zoning, social service programs, health, police protection, sanitation, and recreation. We are in ANC 2B, which meets the second Wednesday of each month at the Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, starting at 7 pm. Our ANC commissioner is Ramon Estrada, ramon.estrada@DupontCircleANC.net. Ramon will retire at the end of 2012, to be replaced by Noah Smith. To receive the agendas by e-mail, so to the ANC web site http://www.dupontcircleanc.net/
Police: DC is divided into seven police districts. Each of those is divided into Police Service Areas (like precincts, but normally all working out of the district headquarters). Caroline Street is in the Third Police District, in service area (PSA) 301. You can see a map of the Third District and other useful information at http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/cwp/view,a,1239,q,544981,mpdcNav_GID,1536.asp
The Third District headquarters is at 1620 V Street, NW. That is where you apply for a temporary parking permit for visitors. The telephone number is (202) 673-6815. At the desk there is a drop box for old cell phone donations.
To provide citizen input to the operation of the police department, there are Citizens Advisory Committees for each district. The Dupont CAC meets every third Thursday at 7:30 PM at the Third District headquarters.
Fire: Our local fire and rescue station is in the 1600 block of U Street, and we have fire hydrants at both ends of the street. The sirens are a nuisance, but you can't get a better rating for your fire insurance.
Trash collection: Trash (including garden trash) is collected in the alley Tuesday and Friday morning. By law, garbage should not be put out earlier than the previous evening. Any food materials should be bagged and put in a CLOSED garbage can. (To do otherwise is to help feed our rat population.) Non-food materials such as garden trash should be bagged.
Recycle collection is Tuesday morning. Clean materials (newspapers, magazines, soft-cover books, glass, metal and hard plastic containers that have been rinsed out) can be mixed in the blue bins. NO PIZZA boxes or any other container that is not completely clean. Packing materials like polystyrene foam (particularly "peanuts") are not recycled - put them in the garbage. Peanuts must be secured in bags to keep them from blowing around the neighborhood for eternity, and then put in the garbage can. Garden trash (leaves, plant clippings, grass clippings) is NOT recycled in DC - put it in the garbage except for the fall leave cleanup that is announced in advance.
If Monday is a holiday, all collections go back one day: Tuesday to Wednesday, Friday to Saturday.
Replacement garbage cans (two per house) can be ordered by calling 311.
Large boxes, long branches, broom sticks and other large items like old furniture will not be taken in the regular collection. Break down the boxes to a size no more than three feet on a side, and cut and bundle branches. A special collection can be requested for large items. Call 311.
Garbage cans left open collect water when it rains, providing a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. And they need only a couple of days to hatch. Keep all cans covered or upside down, and dump out any water that may collect.
Street sweeping is performed by machine which also take photos of cars illegally parked in the areas designated for sweeping at that time. There are signs with the day of the week and hours. On Caroline Street, at the moment the south side is Monday 9:30 - 11:30, the north side Tuesday 9:30 - 11:30. Sweeping is suspended during the winter - the months of November through February.
Electronics and hazardous materials are NOT to be included in your trash. They can be turned in at the Ft. Totten Trash Transfer Station at 4900 John F. McCormack Road, NE, the first Saturday of each month, between 8 am and 3 pm. (The same service at Benning Road was discontinued as of 26 September 2009.) They will accept electronics and hazardous items such as leftover cleaning and gardening chemicals, small quantities of gasoline, pesticides and poisons, mercury thermometers, paint, solvents, spent batteries of all kinds, antifreeze, chemistry sets, automotive fluids, and asbestos tiles. They will NOT accept ammunition, bulk trash, wooden TV consoles, propane tanks, microwave ovens, air conditioners and other appliances, as well as radioactive or medical wastes. Electronics can also be recycled at Best Buy.
Schools: Ross Elementary School at 1730 R St, NW, is our community school. It is a small (about 150 students), diverse school with an extremely active parent and neighborhood support group. Ross offer kindergarten and pre-kindergarten. Ross currently has grades pre-K through 6. Test scores are among the best in DC.
zipcars can be rented by the hour. There is one stationed behind 1924 15 St (from the alley), two behind 1916 15 St, one behind 1900 15th (enter from 15th), and more around the neighborhood.
Public Transportation: We have convenient Metro (subway) service on the Green and Yellow Lines (station at 13th and U) and the Red Line (station at 20th and Q). U Street has buses in the 90 series, providing frequent service to west and north to Adams Morgan and east to Union Station and other areas. 16th Street has the S2 and S4 buses providing service to north to Silver Spring and south to downtown Washington (Federal Triangle). The rush hour S1 bus runs in the morning to the State Department area, and from that area in the evening. These are all operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
For those who use the system, it is most convenient to get a Smartrip card. They are smart cards (embedded chip) that are considered permanent. You can add value to a card at any metro station or bus. Order a card online, or you can buy them at the metro office at Metro Center station (12th and F entrance), at stations with parking, but not at other stations for some reason. Cards may also be purchased at many CVS pharmacies, including the one at 14th and V. I keep a couple of extra cards for out-of-town visitors.
Smartrip cards can be used on most of the public transit systems in the region, including the Circulator Buses run by the DC Department of Transportation. They supplement the Metrobuses. I use the one on 14th, the one on K and the Dupont - Georgetown route now and then. Flat far $1, $.50 when transferring from Metro rail, or free when transferring from Metro bus.
Taxis: Generally it is possible to flag a taxi within a minute or two on 16th or U. My favorite places are at the SW corner of 16th and New Hampshire, and at the SE corner of 15th and U. Many taxi drivers use the gas station and it typically easy to flag one just coming out.
Parking: Our area is part of a controlled residential parking zone. Parking permits for the area (Ward 2) are issued (for a small fee) as part of the vehicle registration process. Vehicles not registered in the District WILL NOT receive parking permits. However, you can obtain a temporary visitor permit from the Third District Police Station at 1620 V Street.
Parking in the alleys is not legal at any time.
To allow street cleaning, there is no parking on the north side of Caroline Monday mornings from 9:30 - 11:30, and on the south side Tuesday mornings. Street cleaning is suspended during the winter.
Last update 11 August 2012
Copyright Richard Busch, 1993, 2004-12
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