City Desk

Hope and Change Can’t Keep Rats from Eating Cars on U Street

Some time ago, City Desk featured a story about Adams Morgan resident Sid Binks, who had a rat problem. The rats ate through his ignition wires and his new car wouldn't start.

Mr. Binks, you have company down at 15th and U. Sylvia Keys, a calligrapher who's lived in a condo there for 18 years, recently posted to the U Street Listserv that she finally scored an alley parking spot and, guess what? There are rats in the alley. And guess what else? They are "living, eating and partying on our motors. And leaving 'debris' behind," Keys writes.

And that's not all: "My taillight went out and the dealer said that rats had been chewing away the wires, thus costing me $200. And yes, the dealership did find a dead rat baby around my motor."

There's no way she's giving up her spot in "a very nice, newly bricked, alleyway" to battle the masses on 15th Street again. So she turned to the Listserv for help. The Listserv directed her to D.C. vermin czar Gerard Brown, who has a lot on his to-do list, including, as our almost-old cover story points out, bedbugs.

So what's a lady calligrapher to do? Well, Binks' mechanic wrapped steel wool around vulnerable wires, which seemed to help. Another option? Move. Sylvia Keys may have found U Street before it became Obama-cool, but so did the rats and they'll outlast even two terms of the re-re-re-rebirth of U Street.

Photo of "Flat Rat" taken by yours truly, coincidentally enough, at 17th and U

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