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Vol. LXIV, No. 11
May 25, 2012

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Have a question about some aspect of working at NIH? You can post anonymous queries at (click on the Feedback icon) and we’ll try to provide answers.

Feedback: Please tell me why, in this day of “going green” and the recent celebration of “Earth Day” that NIH gives every employee a paper copy of the NIH Telephone and Service Directory. The paper copy indicates that this publication is available online. Why not print on demand if an employee really feels he or she needs to have a paper copy?

Response from the Center for Information Technology: Thank you for your question and the opportunity to clarify. The good news is that we previously published 25,000 paper copies of the NIH Telephone and Service Directory. Because of our online listing, this number has been significantly reduced. We are currently printing 2,500 paper copies and we will continue reducing the quantity each year. The current directory can be found at the following link,

Feedback: I’ve seen them every day for 18 years, but now I am curious. I enter the campus each day by North Dr. I’ve begun to notice all of the beautiful homes located on campus, especially on this drive. Do they belong to the NIH? Who lives in these homes? Is there an opportunity for a real tour or a virtual tour of these homes and others located on the NIH campus? What history exists and are there any interesting stories that I can read about them? Please share what you know.

Response from the Office of Research Facilities: [This question was asked and answered last August in the NIH Record.] The area you are referring to is known as the “Quarters.” It is generally used as on-campus housing. Several are rented by senior staff at NIH. Occupants are charged the market rental rate for comparable units in the local area in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-45. In some cases, these units are used for administrative offices such as for staff members of NIAID and the NIH Fire Marshal.

The Quarters exist due to a set of land donations to NIH by a local family, the Wilsons, in the 1930s. As part of the first donation in 1935, an existing structure known as “Top Cottage” (Bldg. 15A) conveyed. A subsequent donation in 1938 allowed for the expansion of the Quarters into 2 to 6 sets of double quarters and 2 single detached residences completed in 1939. The Quarters are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Feedback: Carpool spaces are usually open to anyone after 9.30 a.m. Why are the rules different in MLP-10? I don’t generally park at that time of day but when I pulled in at 9:30 and people were parking I was told by the parking attendant that I couldn’t park there. I was initially told he would “call the police on me,” then he said he wouldn’t but [suggested] that I wasn’t a good person because apparently people have been waiting for spaces since 8:50—how could I possibly jump line in front of them? One of the people waiting then also insulted my character. Others in my lab have experienced the same thing. It is a bit alarming to arrive to work and be insulted before you even get in the door. If this system is officially sanctioned by NIH, why aren’t people doing this all over campus?

Response from the Office of Research Services: Carpool spaces are definitely open to everyone after 9:30 a.m. NIH does not sanction the situation you described in MLP-10 and we have been made aware of this type of behavior occurring in other parking facilities on campus. What we speculate is happening in MLP-10 is that employees have created an informal waiting line for carpool spaces. This informal procedure was created by social norms and etiquette. Instead of circling the lot when the garage fills up, employees have formed an impromptu waiting line to fill the empty spaces at 9:30. Anyone who breaks the line is not breaking any rule or regulation of NIH. Those waiting in line probably see this situation as similar to someone at the grocery store cutting in front of you at the checkout line. When social norms are violated, tempers can flare. The parking attendant was not trying to enforce any policy but was attempting to “keep the peace” and help you understand why those waiting were upset. The parking attendants have now been instructed not to intervene in these situations.

Feedback: Why does the sidewalk along the west side of Center Dr. near Bldgs. 12 and 22 always seem to be closed? Major construction appears to be completed, yet the sidewalk opens and closes repeatedly, often for months at a time while no apparent progress is made. This requires pedestrians to either cross the road twice or walk in the road—dangerous either way. NIH is normally very concerned with pedestrian safety, but this is one case where it could be improved. I’m sure if the road had to be closed instead of the sidewalk, this construction would be prioritized. At least a temporary walkway should be used during work stoppages.

Response from ORF: The closure of the sidewalk near Bldgs. 12 and 22 is unrelated to any construction project. A major, unexpected infiltration of water developed in an underground trench and tunnel in the area. For the safety of pedestrians, the sidewalk was closed until crews could determine the exact location and cause. A repair plan has been developed. As part of the tunnel repair, a one-lane section of Center Dr. will also need to be closed and excavated. During repairs, signs will be posted and flag staff will be on site to direct traffic. A reminder message will be sent out approximately 1 week prior to the partial closure of Center Dr. Estimated completion date for repairs is late June.

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