Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Former DDOT director Klein now working parking enforcement

March 11, 2011 - 03:24 PM
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An MPD police cruiser is parked illegaly in the 15th Street NW bike lane. Photo couresy Gabe Klein.

Well, sort of.

This morning Twitter was popping with complaints of scofflaws parking in the 15th Street NW bike lanes, where some 7 to 10 cars had illegally occupied the section of cycletrack between K and M Streets. The laments were retweeted with abandon by cyclists, eventually catching the eye of Gabe Klein, who left his post as head of the D.C. Department of Transportation at the beginning of this year.

Klein, a dedicated cyclist himself, headed over to the area, snapped a photo of the offenders (above), and tweeted it at DDOT and the D.C. Department of Public Works around 2 p.m. In a sweet gotcha moment, the photo captured a D.C. police cruiser among the illegally parked cars.

According to a tweet from DDOT about a half hour after that, DPW parking enforcers had ticketed 15 cars at that location.

"Thank God for Twitter," says Klein, caught on his cell phone while in transit.

He says he wasn't so surprised to see so many lawbreakers queued up one after another. "What happens is you'll have one car disobey the rule, then you'll have two or three or four follow them." He's careful to add, "I was tweeting as a former director and resident."

The unexpected foray into parking enforcement clearly got the former director's blood flowing. He says he wants to get in touch with Terry Bellamy, the agency's current head, to talk about installing bollards at the beginnings and ends of certain blocks to discourage illegal parking -- an idea they hatched under Klein's watch but never followed through with.

As for whether parking enforcement could become full-time work, that's looking unlikely. Klein has his hands full these days with a few technology-and-transportation consulting gigs, not to mention some job offers to consider.

"In some ways I'm busier than when I was at DDOT," he says. "I was never juggling all these different things. I'm busy as a bee."

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