April Fool's Jokes in D.C.
It's April 1, so it must be time for Fool's Day jokes. We're collecting the best and will post them here at D.C. Wire so let us know if you come across any. So far, we have these to pass along:
The Washington City Paper has some fun with its Web site.
And then there was this faux D.C. government press release posted on the Cleveland Park listserv:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO GET FIRST IN THE NATION PAPERLESS PARKING TICKET SYSTEM
Beginning today the District of Columbia will implement a 100 percent paperless parking ticket system.
Instead of receiving a paper parking ticket, drivers can check online to see if they have a pending parking ticket. "All you need to do is enter in your license plate number and state, and the system, MY DDOT, will tell you whether or not you have a pending parking ticket. If you do, you can pay that ticket instantly using your credit card number or PayPal," said DDOT's chief technology officer, Martha Brady. "This system will save the city over $5 million a year, will help reduce waste, and will cut back on the number of tickets that fly off of windshields and end up in the Chesapeake Bay."
Drivers who park in the District of Columbia should visit MY DDOT at least once a week to see if they have a pending parking ticket. If you don't log on and subsequently pay your ticket, your fine will be doubled, in accordance with existing regulations. "There are no exemptions or excuses allowed for not checking online. Everyone who drives in the District of Columbia should log on to MY DDOT once a week to see if they have any outstanding parking tickets."
DDOT will be launching mobile applications for Blackberry and Windows Mobile phone users soon, so that people can check and pay their parking tickets while on the go. There is no iPhone application in the works. "We know that iPhone users are statistically less likely to park illegally, and we didn't want to spend money developing software that we didn't need to deploy," said Brady.
The paperless parking ticket system will also be faster than the current system. As part of the paperless parking ticket initiative, District ticket writers will be using hand-held devices that take a photo of the illegally parked car and then transmit that information back to DDOT's central server instantly. DDOT has special software that can read license plates, so that drivers won't be able to drive off quickly to thwart a parking ticket.
Starting in June 2009, you will be able to sign up for email notification of parking tickets. For a nominal $50 a year, you can choose to be notified if you receive a parking ticket. "Email notification is for people who are too lazy or forgetful to visit MY DDOT weekly, which is why it's a premium service," said Brady. "Email notifications may contain advertisements, so we recommend that you add email@example.com (youvegotaticket @ myddot.gov) to your safe sender's list. We hope that District residents who receive parking tickets will patronize the companies that advertise in our ticket notifications. This helps the DC Government's bottom line."
"We're really excited about this," said Mayor Adrian Fenty. "One of the aspects of the initiative that I think is most helpful is that the online parking ticket system will let people determine whether or not they have a parking ticket while on vacation or during a business trip. No more surprise tickets and penalties when you return. Now you have a bona fide excuse to take your Blackberry with you to the beach or the mountains. We know that there are some families in which one spouse or another might find this helpful."
DDOT also understands and appreciates the privacy issues surrounding a public database of license plates of cars that have received parking tickets. But it's already the case that anyone walking down the street can see whether or not a particular car has a parking ticket. "We don't expect parking ticket voyeurism to be a problem," said Brady.
For more information about the District's paperless parking ticket initiative visit here.
Posted by: my2centsis | April 1, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: chreal | April 3, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse
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