The Department of Public Works (DPW) will begin issuing warning notices August 4, for photographing vehicles illegally parked in the curb lane during street sweeping hours by the city’s new technology dubbed “Sweepercam.” DPW will issue warning notices through Friday, October 10, 2008, before issuing tickets, beginning October 14, 2008.
Street sweepers equipped with cameras will improve the city’s ability to clean streets by reducing the number of parked cars blocking cleaning routes, DPW officials say.
“Today, there are so many vehicles parked along the residential and commercial street sweeping routes that our sweepers are unable to do the job District residents expect,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. He noted that for every vehicle parked illegally along a sweeper route, three parking spaces are kept from being cleaned by the sweeper.
DPW officials stressed that the primary goal of “Sweepercam” is to change behavior among motorists who block the street-sweeper routes. “Our hope is that by issuing warning notices during the first 45 days of implementation there will be a reduction in the number of violations,” Howland said.
A recent pollutant study (C.C. Johnson & Malhotra 2007), which measured the amounts of various pollutants DPW sweepers clear from District streets, found that along a 10-mile route they remove 100 pounds of oil and grease, on average.
“These are significant findings,” Howland said. “So when the sweepers are not removing these pollutants, the next rain sweeps them, along with trash and other debris, into the sewers for a one-way ticket to the Anacostia River.”
The cameras will photograph vehicles parked in the curb lane. The information is captured and recorded digitally and transferred via wireless communication to be validated and processed for ticket issuance. DPW estimates that it will take as little as two business days to a maximum of seven business days to mail a citation. Out-of-state vehicle owners may take longer to receive their warning notices and tickets.