An Ode to DDOT

For those of you that know me personally know that I live in Southeast DC…not Capitol Hill SE, but across the John Philip Sousa Bridge SE.  I love my neighborhood.  I’ve been here for two years and have met some of my neighbors.  I’ve gotten involved in the community and for the time being can’t see myself living anywhere else. 

But then comes DDOT (or the District Department of Transportation).  Almost a year ago now (my timing may be off a few months), DDOT started the Great Streets Iniative in various neighborhoods around the District to make them more vibrant ecomonic and/or residential areas.  My neighborhood is no different.  Excited to see the change, I have sacrificed numerous times during my stay by avoiding traffic on Pennsylvania Ave SE and taking alternate routes home so I can miss the construction or by parking a ridiculous distance from my home on multiple occasions because there is no longer any parking on Pennsylvania Ave or because there is construction in the parking lot behind my building so those people have to park on my street.  There have even been instances where the water has been turned off for various reasons.  And through all of this I have never complained…until now.

In the past when the water has to be turned off, we’ve received notification via a letter posted on our doors to let us know when the water will be turned off and when we can expect it to be back on.  This has never really been an issue for me in the past because 99% of the time, it’s during the weekday when I’m normally at work.   So imagine my surprise when I get home last night from work to discover I have no running water.  I called my neighbor/go-to girl for all things related to Ward 7, Ms. V., to ask when the water would be turned back on.  She let me know our street should not have been affected at all.  It should have only been the 3800 and 3900 blocks of Pennsylvania Ave.  The water was scheduled to be off from 9 pm Monday night until 5 am Tuesday morning.  It is now 10:04 am, and I still don’t have running water.  This is totally unacceptable.  Not only was I not notified that my water might be turned off, it is now 5 hours after the slated time it was supposed to be back on. 

I normally don’t use this blog to make such personal statements, but after walking with Ms. V. this morning, my anger increased, and I realized I needed to do something to let DDOT know that this is ridiculous and will not be tolerated…  And don’t worry, I plan on sending an e-mail to the community liaison as well, just in case she doesn’t read this blog (but why wouldn’t she?).  So if you know her, let her know it’s coming. 

If any of you experience any type of negligence against you, your neighbors, or your neighborhood, stand up for yourself.  Let your voice be heard!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.


  1. DDOT sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience. Please note that we have changed our policy for Pennsylvania Ave regarding notifications due to this incident. Your water was not planned to be turned off, but due to the fact that the water system in this corridor is older, the valves that were associated with this work were inoperable therefore we had to extend the area required for the shutdown. We will now send notices not only to the affected properties, but will also send it to the adjacent properties that their services could be shut down if the valves do not operate correctly. As always, please feel free to call me with any questions or concerns and I would like to extend my thanks for your patience.

    Luan Tran

    Project Engineer, DDOT


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