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Posted at 10:49 AM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Blogger tweets @DDOTDC to fix misspelled "Missouiri" Avenue street signs in Brightwood

By Akeya Dickson

Andray Baltche Blatche could probably empathize with Brightwood's plight this week. The Washington Wizards' forward wore a jersey that misspelled his last name a few days ago, while across town, a Missouri Avenue street sign crossing Ninth Street in northwest was spelled as "Missouiri."

When Rebecca Mills of the Brightwoodian blog saw the misspelled sign, she said her first reaction was to roll her eyes.

"I thought about how it made the neighborhood look bad," she said. "And then I thought it was amazing that I'd passed through that intersection so many times without noticing the misspelling."

After a quick flurry of e-mails and tweets, the sign stood corrected 24 hours later, serving as an example of how social media interactions and access to agencies can get city problems fixed.

Thumbnail image for photo.JPGThis sign was changed within 24 hours of it being reported to DDOT. (Photo courtesy of Akeya Dickson)

Mills said that her neighbor Christine Kithcart noticed the spelling error and notified the Brightwood listserv via e-mail at 2:07 p.m. Tuesday. Carly Skidmore, one of the Ward 4 liaisons from the mayor's office who monitors the listserv, said that she contacted the District Department of Transportation and they agreed to fix the sign by the close of business.

"When I biked through the intersection the next morning, I noticed that "Missouri" was misspelled on the street signs on both the north AND the south sides of the street," said Mills. "That's when I tweeted DDOT, to let them know that they had more than one sign to replace."

This was the first that DDOT heard about the incorrectly spelled sign, said John Lisle, a spokesman for the department who also mans its Twitter account.

"It was reported to us, I forwarded it to the sign shop and they took care of it as soon as they could," he said.

Around 11 a.m. that morning, the department responded on Twitter in jest:

@ThBrightwoodian You have to read them with an accent. Kidding - we'll take a look. Thanks for the heads up.

The department gets about 1 to 5 tweets about issues from area residents on any given day about street signs, broken traffic signals, potholes and other issues he said. The number increases during their Potholepalooza campaign and during inclement weather.

"Some things we can fix right way - like a traffic signal - others take longer," he said. "It gives us a great way to interact directly with residents, in real-time, to address any issues they're having or to answer their questions. For them, it helps cut through the bureaucracy and contact someone who can at least try to help them right away."

The Daily Gripe hit the streets Wednesday to check out the misspelling after seeing the tweet that Mills sent to DDOT. By the time we got there, DDOT kept their promise and the new signs were up.

Skidmore sent this e-mail to the listserv at 1:43 p.m.:

"Per DDOT: Both 800 and 900 blocks of Missouri Ave. NW signs were replaced. Our ward crew checked the other Missouri Ave. NW signs but found no such others."

Mills said that she's found the transportation department to be speedy when she's reported other issues, including Stop signs that she said kids in the neighborhood love to tear down.

"The problem was always fixed by the next morning. I can't speak for other agencies, but I've found DDOT to be extremely swift and responsive and prompt when taking care of community issues," she said. "I was afraid things would change once Gabe Klein left."

baltche2.jpg
The Wizards and DDOT are both "winning" -- to quote Charlie Sheen -- when they use spellcheck.

By Akeya Dickson  | March 4, 2011; 10:49 AM ET
Categories:  Fixed, The Daily Gripe, The District  
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Next: Second-floor graffiti scrawled in Columbia Heights

Comments

The mis-spelled sign read MISSIOURI. Good job on the quick fix.

Posted by: JohnVreeland | March 6, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

The mis-spelled sign read MISSIOURI. Good work to the city on the quick fix.

Posted by: JohnVreeland | March 6, 2011 10:06 PM | Report abuse

A graduate of the DC Public Schools....prior to Michelle Rhee.

Posted by: priveye | March 10, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

it is still spelled wrong...should read "missourah" just ask anyone who is from there...

Posted by: idontgetit1 | March 10, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

This kind of mistake happens in every major city. It's called human error! Guess that Gabe Klein made the signs himself when he managed DDOT, right! No humans would have made that mistake at DDOT if her were still there.........

Posted by: dcchamp1 | March 10, 2011 8:24 PM | Report abuse

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