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Vol. LXIV, No. 3
February 3, 2012
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Feedback

Want to know more about some aspect of working at NIH? You can post anonymous queries at www.nih.gov/nihrecord/index.htm (click on the Feedback icon) and we’ll try to provide answers.

Feedback: There are often a large number of non-numbered “red permit” parking spots available throughout the day while what appears to be an increasing number of cars with red tags in spaces for general parking. Those of us with black or other colored parking permits are often unable to park in the garages. Why not let non-red permits park in unrestricted red spots after a certain time of day (perhaps 11 a.m.), similar to open parking in carpool spaces after 9:30 a.m.? Is NIH looking at other options to maximize parking in the garages?

Response from the Office of Research Services: NIH has the same difficult task of managing parking as all facilities in large, highly populated metropolitan areas. “Traffic Demand Management Plans” require businesses as well as developers to demonstrate how they will mitigate impact on traffic. Policy has also restricted parking spaces at NIH, disallowing increases to the limited number of parking spaces currently available to employees.

With limited availability of parking spaces, NIH has to establish priority to the use of its current parking spaces and provide alternatives to commuting by single-occupied vehicles. NIH also looks at the use of alternative transportation for sustainability and to comply with Presidential initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases. Priority has been given to carpool and vanpool parking.

Senior NIH leaders and executives, in an effort to maximize the NIH mission, have been given preferred parking because of their critical and essential positions. The preferred parking spaces have not increased and have remained the same for over 20 years. These “red permit” preferential parking spaces become available at 3 p.m. for general employee parking. Carpool spaces become available for general employee parking at 9:30 a.m.

The overall parking policy at NIH is guided by Manual Issuance 1410. The parking staff will look at the manual issuance, particularly as it relates to time limitations on parking spaces, but any change in policy would need to go through a process that includes review and consideration by institutes and centers.

Feedback: How is the deer and duck/geese population controlled on the NIH campus? If these animals are removed from campus, where are they taken?

Response from ORS: To help reduce goose feeding, droppings and negative employee interactions on campus, the Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) developed and implemented a Goose Management Program. The program involves numerous weekly surveys to determine goose feeding areas on campus. DOHS has placed coyote decoys and Mylar tape in various locations on campus where feeding has been observed. These decoys dissuade geese from landing and feeding, thus reducing problems with goose waste. To enhance the effectiveness of decoys, they are moved on a regular basis dictated by survey observations.

With regard to deer, DOHS has advised key personnel to reduce feeding and harborage areas to the extent feasible considering existing environmental and community agreements, and regulatory requirements, and to utilize ornamentals that are rarely or seldom damaged by deer and avoid use of plantings on campus that are frequently damaged.

Geese and deer are not removed from the campus.

Feedback: With budget cuts imminent, why doesn’t NIH as a whole try to conserve more? I see constant wasting of resources—electricity, water, paper, recyclables, etc. There are often empty labs and offices with lights on—turning off the light when you leave is so easy to do. I see people leaving water running (as if the lab glassware will be any cleaner for it). This is especially bad in the animal rooms, when the technicians are filling water bottles. Even if they are not actively filling the bottles, the water is still running. People print out reams of single-sided papers and then half of it ends up in the trash or recycle bin. Even though recycle bins are everywhere, it seems the trash can is more popular for bottles, cans and paper. If we all cut back just a little on our consumption, I’m sure we can set an example for money-saving rather than money-spending. This was typed using only the light from my office window (lights off).

Response from ORS: Thank you for your interest in sustainability and conservation. You bring up many good points. Sometimes within large organizations where energy, water, paper and other resources are not directly paid for by the consumers, people do not think about the costs associated with their actions. Wasting energy, water and money from improper material and waste handling means wasting money that could otherwise go to research.

NIH promotes sustainability and going greener through the NIH Environmental Management System (http://nems.nih.gov). NIH has programs in place to promote recycling, energy conservation, water conservation, sustainable buildings and more. Each IC has created a Green Team to promote green behavior within their ICs. Saving energy and water, reducing waste and practicing sustainability require active change and leadership. Your actions can make a difference and set the example for others to follow.


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