City Desk

14th Street Plans Rat Summit

Home to Le Diplomate and oyster bars, the 14th Street corridor also plays host to rats that lurk in back alleys, snatching the leftovers from open dumpsters at your favorite restaurants.

Rodent problems aren't new to D.C., nor are they particularly unique to Logan Circle, but as the number of restaurants in the neighborhood has exploded, the rats have naturally taken interest. (And bred, since that's what rodents do.)

Logan Circle ANC Commissioner John Fanning says the rats aren't a sanitation problem and shouldn't be cause for concern just yet, but he has called a precautionary rat summit for next month to educate the community in rodent combat techniques.

"If we don't do anything about it, the rat population is only going to increase," he says. (Fanning is also the chair of the Alcohol and Beverage Regulation Administration policy committee.)

The idea of the summit is to get restaurant owners, residents, and members of relevant government agencies together to discus the problem and how restaurants can minimize the rat infestations by disposing of their trash and grease properly—a main cause of the seemingly increased number of rats. (Another cause, according to Fanning, is that rats once lived more discreetly in abandoned lots on the street. Now that most those lots have been developed, those rats have scattered to more populated areas.)

Fanning says the rat problem is particularly bad in the 1300 block of 14th Street NW—home to The Pig, Birch & Barley, B Too, Popeyes, and others. B Too, which is new, will be taking a leadership role in the gathering, showing off its state-of-the-art waste and grease disposals.

The "Sanitation, Education, & Enforcement" Summit is on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Washington Plaza Hotel.

(h/t to ANC blog Short Articles about Long Meetings for first reporting on the summit.)

Photo by Jule Banville

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  • Guest

    The alley behind that block is pretty badly kept, as is its northern corner where the 7-11 is. Whole families of rats live in the grass near the Bikeshare stalls.

  • tntdc

    The new cafes put their food trash in tubs clearly labeled "inedible". Can't rats read?

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  • Postlocal

    Hearing the shuffle of rats in weeds or catching a glimpse of a dark object scurrying to-and-fro are two of the worst near heart attacks an urbanite can experience. Public health is impacted in more ways than one!