No Hazmats

After all the incessant flogging and flyers about today’s Hazardous Waste drop-off at Carter Barron, I rather expected it all to run smoothly. Really, it seemed so well-publicized that they had to have been expecting a serious crowd, right?

Sigh. I really should’ve known better. But after two hours of waiting in the car in a line that stretched for blocks and blocks in both directions of 16th Street and the surrounding cross streets, with horns honking and people flailing and (cue sad irony alert) gas-guzzlers chugging, we finally bailed. Our car was low on gas and there was no end in sight. At the corner of the main entrance, with still aways to go to the designated drop-off at the parking lot, people were just walking up and dumping the contents of their cars, with the DPW people waving their arms “no” and “we don’t have the manpower today to carry this stuff back there for you” and other such protestations. As we were leaving a cop was on the scene, talking people down in the their cars as temperatures rose. No one could adequately answer why the delay was so bad.

But no one needs to – it’s obvious. They were simply unprepared for the amount of residents who took their civic duty seriously and decided to commit to legally disposing of hazmats. They didn’t think through the manpower needed or the difficulties of traffic flow for a drop-off location that basically traps cars. There was even a kids soccer game in progress which probably clogged the parking lots as well, adding to the congestion. Incredible, with the amount of advertising that they did, also considering the additional PR of Green Week, and that everyone knows the way to Carter Barron is a two-lane mess in both directions on a regular day anyway…

Oh, it’s a a waste of invective. The least I can hope is that they will re-evaluate this debacle for next year’s hazmat collection, and strive to improve.

5 Comments so far

  1. cipher on April 27th, 2008 @ 12:37 am

    I was one of the people who ditched their car and walked up. Boy were they pissed at me!


  2. How I Spent a Sunny Saturday « brunch and the city (pingback) on April 27th, 2008 @ 12:50 pm

    […] get into Carter Barron, I clocked my wait at almost a full 2 hours, which I think was better than most people‚Äôs wait since I came in via Kennedy Street instead of 16th. I think I finally made it home around 3pm as […]


  3. Tom Bridge (tbridge) on April 27th, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

    This sounds like such a clusterfuck! Shame that they couldn’t figure out a better way to do it.


  4. Max (mcook) on April 28th, 2008 @ 10:17 am

    I drove north on 16th and thought there was an accident or something that was causing the traffic jam, so I back tracked through Rock Creek Park to come south on 16th street – same story, maybe worse. My friend and I waited over three hours to drop off some old paint and electronics. Thank God my car has a/c and Sirius!

    In fairness to the organizers of the event, I think they staffed based on the turnout of their last drop off. Supposedly there weren’t nearly as many people who showed up last fall so they were caught off guard and were very apologetic.

    I wonder if the high turnout this time is just a fluke or are people really starting to "think green"?


  5. mikelicht on April 28th, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

    The city plans to open two consumer e-trash dump stations on alternating weekends, another half-measure doomed to failure.



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