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A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.

Speed Cameras, Please: “A few years ago, some folks in the community inquired about a speed camera on northbound 16th St. between Holly and Kalmia but were told that none could be considered for that location because it has a (slight) downhill grade. Yet according to an article in the Reliable Source column in today’s Post, speed cameras were installed on a hilly stretch of Foxhall Rd. If that article is accurate, does it mean that the policy has changed? Could the 16th St. location now be considered for a camera?” asks a member of the Shepherd Park email list. Another member notes that there’s a speed camera on 16th Street NW near Jonquil or Juniper Street, but “that being said, it hasn’t seemed to affect the speed at which drivers travel on 16th Street as a whole”; still another insists, “Speed cameras are not intended to calm traffic, they are intended to make money, primarily for the businesses that own them.” But a fourth member says, “A speed camera has already been installed and tickets have been mailed. It  is located on the east side of the street after you pass Kalmia going north.  One ticket was for going 46 for 150 dollars and going 42 for 125 dollars.  These tickets were issued between Christmas and New Years. I know a few other folks who have received tickets. I have been told that in Silver Springs the equivalent speed is half the cost. Problem solved, I will not drive over 30 mph.”

And Smart Meters, Too: A member of the Cleveland Park email list writes, “I thought folks might like to know about the effort underway now to force Pepco to allow customers to opt-out of “smart meters” and their associated collection for seven years of when you are home, etc. The City filed a petition to that effect…but Pepco is opposing it, and now the Public Utility Commission is deciding the matter.” But “smart meters are a way to reduce peak load on the electric utility system, which means savings for all Pepco customers since extra generators do not have to be brought on line to meet the demand of these periods of high electric demand. Also smart meters, when fully operational, will allow customers to monitor how they are using electricity and to take personal measures to reduce their electricity use, both on peak and off peak, and thus to save money. Besides this personal benefit, less electricity generation means less pollution. That’s good for your pocketbook and good for the planet,” counters a second member. That member adds, “If you think I am a Pepco PR person, let me assure you that I am not. In fact, I spent a decade fighting New York electric utilities and their outrageous growth plans in the 1970s. Even back then we were advocating for smart meters.”

Welcome to the Neighborhood: “I will be moving to the Capitol Gateway area (or the Capitol View neighborhood) from Ward 5, and I wonder if there is another neighborhood listserv that covers this area? One urgent question (for now) – is it advisable to walk on East Capitol St SE to the Capitol Heights Metro Station?” asks a new member of the MPD 6D email list. “Welcome to the neighborhood. In order to get to the Metro, you will have to walk along East Capitol Street to get there. My niece, age 21, walked to and from their daily. I live behind Evans Junior High School,” responds one member, while an MPD offer says, “Thanks for the posting and welcome to the neighborhood! Occasionally we receive calls for thefts from automobiles near the Metro.  Some commuters park at this location and leave valuables and small electronics in plain view and sometimes their cars are broken into by opportunist.  Aside from that, I would encourage to exercise general safety precautions when walking to and from the Metro.”

The Cat is Now Inside: “Just heard a fox,” writes a member of the Chevy Chase email list in the title of a message. The member, a resident of Barnaby Woods, reports, “I just heard a fox (or coyote) barking outside my home. I rushed to get my cat in. The fox or coyote (I couldn’t tell which in the dark) was in my neighbor’s front yard barking at my cat. The cat is now inside. I didn’t have my camera with me to snap a photo. It looked like a young animal as it was on the small side.”