Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter II. Telephone Poles, Wires, and Conduits, 1902.


§ 34–1911.01. Removal of telephone poles and wires; area of removal; duties of Mayor; extension of conduits.

All telephone poles and wires attached thereto not the property of the United States or the District of Columbia existing June 20, 1902, upon the streets and avenues within the section of the District of Columbia bounded by a line beginning at 2nd and B Streets Southeast and running thence along B Street south, 3rd Street west, Missouri Avenue, 6th Street west, B Street north, 23rd Street west, Rock Creek, Cincinnati Street, Columbia Road, 16th Street west (extended), Park Street, Whitney Avenue, 11th Street west, R Street north, New Jersey Avenue, C Street north, and 2nd Street east to the point of beginning, except as hereinafter provided, shall from time to time, as may be prescribed by the Mayor of said District, be taken down and removed. The work of taking down and removing said poles and wires shall be done under the direction of said Mayor, and it is hereby made the duty of said Mayor to enforce compliance with the provisions of this subchapter as expeditiously as may be consistent with the public interests; and the said Mayor is hereby empowered from time to time to authorize any individual, company, or corporation operating on June 20, 1902, and maintaining a telephone plant or system, partly overhead and partly underground, in the District of Columbia, to extend and enlarge its system of underground conduits, subsidiaries, and manholes in or under any or all of the streets, avenues, alleys, lanes, or other public highways in said city and District as may be requisite and necessary for the purposes of this subchapter and for the reception of such other cables and wires as may be reasonably required in the future by the growth of such individual, company, or corporation or to adequately meet the requirements of the public for telephone service.


(June 20, 1902, 32 Stat. 393, ch. 1136, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1402.

1973 Ed., § 43-1402.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 34-1911.02, § 34-1911.03, § 34-1911.04, and § 34-1911.06.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 34–1911.02. Plans of conduits to be submitted to Mayor; permits; removal of poles; wires for house connections; telephone companies.

From time to time any individual, company, or corporation, maintaining and operating on June 20, 1902, a telephone plant or system in said District, partly overhead and partly underground, shall prepare and submit to the said Mayor a plan or plans, or application or applications, in writing, showing the streets, avenues, alleys, lanes, and other public highways in or under which it is proposed to construct conduits, subsidiaries, or manholes, and giving the general dimensions, length, and course thereof, and before any such conduit, subsidiary, or manhole is constructed it shall be necessary to obtain the approval and permission of said Mayor. Said Mayor is empowered to require that all proposed conduits, subsidiaries, and manholes shall be constructed in accordance with the approved plan or permit; and upon the approval by said Mayor of any such plan, or the issuing of any such permit, providing for the construction of underground conduits, subsidiaries, or manholes within the section in said District described in § 34-1911.01 the construction therein provided for shall be proceeded with diligently, and upon the completion thereof, or as soon thereafter as may be, without impairing the efficiency of the telephone service in said District, the individual, company, or corporation constructing such conduits, subsidiaries, or manholes shall place its cables and wires therein and take down and remove from the streets and avenues in which such conduits are constructed all poles and wires except such as said Mayor may, in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter, permit to remain for the purpose of distributing wires for house connections.


(June 20, 1902, 32 Stat. 393, ch. 1136, § 2.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1403.

1973 Ed., § 43-1403.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 34-1911.03.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 34–1911.03. Penalties.

Any individual, company, or corporation owning and maintaining such poles and wires attached thereto on or over any street or avenue within the section of the District described in § 34-1911.01 who shall willfully neglect or refuse to remove the same, as provided in § 34-1911.02, shall be liable to a penalty of not more than $25 for each and every day during which such failure to remove said poles and wires shall continue, which amount may be recovered by the District of Columbia in any court of competent jurisdiction.


(June 20, 1902, 32 Stat. 394, ch. 1136, § 3.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1404.

1973 Ed., § 43-1404.


§ 34–1911.04. Erection and maintenance of telephone poles in alleys; poles outside designated limit; temporary permits.

Said Mayor is empowered to authorize the erection and maintenance of poles in the alleys of said city and District and the stringing thereon of telephone conductors from alley poles or housetop fixtures in one square to alley poles or housetop fixtures in another square for the purpose of enabling house connections to be made, and also to authorize the erection of telephone poles in the District of Columbia outside the limits of the section of said District described in § 34-1911.01 and the stringing thereon of telephone conductors for house connections or for connection with lines outside the District of Columbia; also to authorize the erection of such poles and the stringing thereon of such wires in the streets and avenues of said city and District in the parts thereof in which there are no public alleys, and in such other places as the public interests do not require that the lines be placed underground, or in places where it shall be deemed by said Mayor impracticable to advantageously place or operate such lines underground. During the progress of the work provided for in § 34-1911.01 said Mayor is also empowered to issue temporary permits for the erection and maintenance of poles and overhead conductors in places where the lines are ultimately to be placed underground, but where the work can not be immediately done because of the greater urgency of work in other localities, or for other reasons satisfactory to said Mayor; but in issuing such temporary permits said Mayor shall bear in mind the purpose and policy of this subchapter, which is to cause to be removed from the streets and avenues within the section of said District described in § 34-1911.01 all poles and wires attached thereto, except as hereinbefore provided, as expeditiously as may be without interfering with or impairing the efficiency of the telephone service in said District and without denying to the public reasonable telephone facilities at all times.


(June 20, 1902, 32 Stat. 394, ch. 1136, § 4.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1405.

1973 Ed., § 43-1405.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 34–1911.05. Regulations for inspection; ducts for use of fire and police wires.

All subways, conduits, manholes, and overhead lines constructed or erected under the provisions of this subchapter shall be subject to such reasonable regulations as the Council of the District of Columbia may from time to time prescribe as to inspection, location, character of conduit construction, and height of poles and wires; provided, that in all conduits so constructed, such space shall be furnished to the District government as may be necessary for purposes related exclusively to the government and public safety, free of charge; provided further, that the number of ducts so reserved in any one conduit shall not be more than 2.


(June 20, 1902, 32 Stat. 395, ch. 1136, § 5; Apr. 12, 2005, D.C. Law 15-342,§ 305, 52 DCR 2346.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1406.

1973 Ed., § 43-1406.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-342 rewrote this section which had read as follows: “All subways, conduits, manholes, and overhead lines constructed or erected under the provisions of this subchapter shall be subject to such reasonable regulations as the Council of the District of Columbia may from time to time prescribe as to inspection, location, character of conduit construction, and height of poles and wires; provided, that in all conduits so constructed such space shall be furnished to the District of Columbia as may be necessary for its fire alarm or police patrol wires or cables, carrying low potential currents of electricity, free of charge; and provided further, that the number of ducts so reserved in any 1 conduit shall not be more than 3.”

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(321) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 34–1911.06. Repairs and renewals.

The said Mayor is empowered to authorize any such individual, company, or corporation owning and operating on June 20, 1902, any lines of street poles and wires and any alley poles or alley-pole line within the District of Columbia and outside of the section described in § 34-1911.01 to continue to maintain the same, with such repairs and renewals as may be necessary to keep them in good order and condition of repair, and to add thereto such poles and wires as may be necessary for the purpose of making house connections or for connecting with telephone lines outside the District of Columbia.


(June 20, 1902, 32 Stat. 395, ch. 1136, § 6.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1407.

1973 Ed., § 43-1407.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 34–1911.07. Right to alter, amend, or repeal reserved.

Congress reserves the right to alter, amend, or repeal this subchapter.


(June 20, 1902, 32 Stat. 395, ch. 1136, § 7.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 43-1408.

1973 Ed., § 43-1408.