Downtown D.C. by the numbers: People are slobs

The Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District’s annual report for 2012 is out, and its most interesting statistics reveal an unfortunate truth: People are slobs.

Not all people, mind you. But enough to force the BID’s 105 safety/hospitality and maintenance employees (SAMs) to spend hours and hours scraping gum from the sidewalks and picking up litter.

The BID, with a $10.5 million annual budget, maintains 650 trash cans in its 138-block area. That’s 2.35 trash cans per block face (one side of the block). Use them, please.

The downtown office market, meanwhile, had a “difficult year,” with annual office absorption of negative 300,000 square feet, according to the report. Much of the blame falls on the collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, the venerable law firm that shed roughly 140,000 square feet at 1101 New York Ave. NW when it filed for bankruptcy.

“Several tenants moving to lower cost D.C. sub-markets” didn’t help either, the report states.

BID officials hope to turn the office market around through partnerships with the D.C. government on several economic development plans: Mayor Vincent Gray’s Five-Year Economic Development Strategy, D.C. streetcar financing, the D.C. Tax Revision Commission.

The BID is funded through a special assessment on some 500 commercial properties within its borders — Massachusetts Avenue to the north, Constitution Avenue to the south, Louisiana Avenue to the east and 16th Street on the west.

It spends nearly 26 percent of its budget on safety, 22 percent on maintenance, 14 percent on communications, 11.1 percent on administration, 8 percent on public space management, 6.7 percent on economic development, another 6.7 percent on infrastructure and 5.5 percent on homeless services.

Some other numbers in the report on the BID’s activities :

  • Assisted 316,402 people with directions, maps.
  • Produced 100,000 new visitor maps.
  • Collected 180,955 bags of litter and trash.
  • Removed graffiti from 496 locations.
  • Removed “vandal stickers” from 1,909 sites.
  • Cleared gum from 234 block faces (one side of the block).
  • Reported 1,115 incidents of aggressive panhandling.
  • Replaced or repaired 200 of the BID’s 650 trash cans.

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