City Desk

The Needle: Road Closed Edition

Trash Man Didn't Get the Trash Today: The real world impact of municipal budget cuts isn't always immediately apparent. But one of last fall's decisions may lead to obviously visible—and smellable—results. The D.C. Department of Public Works, facing a $3.9 million cut to its budget last year, decided to stop ordering trash cans and recycling containers. Which means there's a significant backlog for getting new ones out to new residents or replacements to people whose cans get stolen. Time to start composting! -2

Fake Pot, Real Cops: Federal authorities banned fake pot—known as K2 or Spice—earlier this month. A few weeks later, D.C. authorities are finally getting around to seeing if they can make a bust under the new regulations. Cops visited stores where they'd previously purchased the synthetic weed and threatened consequences if the stuff is still for sale. (It might go on your permanent record!) The whole exercise seems ridiculous; after all, the only reason there's any market for fake pot in the first place is because of the inane criminalization of real marijuana. -2

Constitution Avenue Reconstituted: Between the cherry blossoms and the rolling waves of spring breakers and their families heading to town, venturing anywhere near downtown during the spring usually means battling hordes of tourists, both on the sidewalks, in the Metro, and on the roads. Add to the usual seasonal chaos some serious road work. The National Park Service, which for some reason owns the length of Constitution Avenue, will tear up and replace the stretch between 15th Street NW and 23rd Street NW, one block at a time. The concrete under the road, which dates to the 1950s, will all be replaced with new slabs. It'll cost $10.3 million and should be done sometime in "early 2012." Don't hold your breath. -3

Snow? Really?: Just because we've sprung the clocks forward and it's officially spring doesn't mean you get to put the snow shovels away yet—weather forecasters say there's a chance of flurries or snow showers later this week. The good news: It wouldn't actually pile up anywhere. The bad news: If it's snowing, it won't be 60 degrees. -1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 67 Today's score: -8 Today's Needle rating: 59

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