- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 1, 2002

Hundreds of D.C. residents spent hours in a line that sometimes stretched six blocks yesterday to get their vehicles inspected by the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.
Business is typically brisk at the city's only inspection station, at 1001 Half St. SW, near the end of the month, but yesterday's crush of customers was worse than usual because high temperatures forced the station to close early Monday and Tuesday.
Metrobuses, garbage trucks and government vehicles waited with the taxis and residents for about two hours and were still a block away from the station lot, which was filled with about 50 cars waiting to get into one of the eight bays for the $25 inspection.
"It is most aggravating," Richard Redeenius said while waiting in line. "Last year, I came over and got in line and was out of here in a breeze."
Yesterday was the second time this week that Mr. Redeenius went down to get his Jeep inspected. As he was getting in line Tuesday, a DMV employee told him the station was closing early and would not be taking any more cars.
"I'm very angry about this. I've wasted two days," said Mr. Redeenius, 60, of the 2400 block of 16th Street NW.
For Kevin Klym, this week was his first exposure to the tangled web of D.C. bureaucracy. The 27-year-old salesman just moved here from Oregon and said he spent two hours transferring the tags and title to his car on Tuesday, then went to the inspection station about 3:15 p.m. Mr. Klym was told it would reopen at 4 p.m., but he waited in vain.
The lines stretched from the inspection station down Half Street onto two blocks of I Street and three blocks up Delaware Avenue to M Street, where waiting cars blocked the right lane.
Regina Williams, a DMV spokeswoman, said the end-of-the-month rush to renew stickers and the early closings were to blame for the long lines. "In the inspection station, the heat index by 10 a.m. was 98 degrees. Generally we are required to close when the heat index is above 96," Ms. Williams said.
The station was closed from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday and closed at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
But long waits are hardly rare.
Customers who showed up on the Friday after the Fourth of July endured delays of an hour while waiting in a four-block-long line. At the time, Ms. Williams attributed the problem to the holiday and an early closure that week due to the heat.
Because many customers could not get their vehicles inspected Monday and Tuesday afternoons, Ms. Williams said, the department has waived the $15 late fee for people who say they tried to get their inspection completed.
She said that if a resident gets a traffic ticket for an expired inspection sticker, he or she should send the ticket to Traffic Adjudication with an explanation that the inspection station was closed.
"Because of the long lines we are not charging them the penalty," she said. "We are giving them the benefit of the doubt."
In the cases of Mr. Redeenius and Mr. Klym, she said, they should have been offered an appointment to bring in their cars for inspection rather than have to wait in the long lines.
"It is our policy to offer an appointment," she said.
Pete Ross, a Democratic candidate for D.C. shadow senator, said he had been campaigning in the lines all week long.
He also said the only times the line and the DMV employees seem to move very swiftly is when reporters show up.
"There should be a camera set up out here all the time," said Mr. Ross, who lives in the Foxhall area of Northwest. "They move a lot faster."
Ms. Williams said DMV hopes to reopen the old West Virginia Avenue SE inspection station within a year, after the building has been renovated. That station has been closed for about two years.

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