Increased DDOT Cooperation with Slugging Community
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Background: Slugging began in 1971 in the Washington D.C, metro area shortly after the HOV lanes were open to carpools and van pools. Since slugging started, the need for simple, quick, easy, and affordable means for commuting has been on the rise. This has helped the concept of slugging spread throughout Northern Virginia communities. The slugging community is vital to the area, as slugging helps reduce traffic congestion and also air pollution. For each slug vehicle, at least two drivers are taken off the local roads. Slugging provides an alternative form of transportation that has helped the area become more desirable to live in.
Springfield is home to one of the largest slug lines - Bob's, which is located right across the street from the Springfield Plaza alongside the I395/I495/95 junction.
Challenges: There are pickup lines at: 7th and D, 14th and Madison, and 19th and F. However, Bob's commuters have faced challenges with having a reliable pickup location in DC:
- Both 7th/D and 14th/Madison have had countless problems with cars and food trucks being parked in the far right lane (despite being prohibited), preventing drivers from picking up slugs at these locations.
- On 14th/Madison in particular, cars park there to reserve spots for food trucks. This area is designated as no parking. The cars are ticketed, but the ticket price is not enough to prevent them from parking there again. At this location, an ice cream truck regularly parks here. DDOT has been contacted about the problem, including submission of photographs, and DDOT has failed to act or respond. There appears to be no resolution in sight.
- In addition, despite 14th/Madison being a DDOT-designated selection (one that was selected years ago without much input from those who slug from this location), Traffic Control Enforcement Officers have threatened drivers with tickets for attempting to pick up slugs in recent months.
- Commuters attempted to establish a line at 14th and New York this year and were denied the request by DDOT. An alternative location of 15th and New York was proposed, but this location does not work, as indicated by the slug line representatives who met with DDOT. This alternative location was tried in the past, and slugs abandoned the location.
- Community members have volunteered their time to try to address these problems and have had difficulty getting timely responses and resolutions from DDOT.
Suggested Resolutions: As slugs, we are proposing the following actions:
- Establishment of the 14th and NY slug line
- Proper training of traffic control enforcement officers to develop awareness about designated slug lines and to remind them not ticket drivers picking up slugs
- Early and prompt enforcement of vehicles to include food trucks parked on 7th/D and 14th/Madison, preferably before commuting pickup hours which begin at 4 p.m. For repeat offenders, an increase in a ticket pricing should be considered, and in extreme cases, a re-evaluation of their food truck license.
- A DDOT liaison who responds in at timely manner to Springfield slug line representatives.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
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