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#1 2018-05-16 17:35:37

Registered: 2008-06-03
Posts: 46

311 service requests for cleaning bike lane debris

I had reason to mark a full year that I have been riding across the gravel-covered, garbage-ridden, leaf-piles-and small-branch-strewn westbound bike lane on the bridge across Shoal Creek at 29th St.  So I used the mobile 311 app to open a service request (I was standing on the bridge, but the address came in 2900 Lamar St.).  In my complaint, I stressed it was a safety issue: deep gravel forces you into the car lane.  After two weeks, no action, so I called 311 and they opened another ticket, tied it to the first one, with comments and a corrected address.  After another week, still no action so I complained to my council member.  Within two days, the bike lane is FINALLY clear.  Until the next overflow of Shoal Creek, I supposed, but at least it's clean for now.

I'm curious what sort of response others have had to similar 311 service requests.


#2 2018-05-16 17:57:20

From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,338

Re: 311 service requests for cleaning bike lane debris

My experiences with 311 are generally bad.  I can't remember most details but here are some.

One constant is that they demand more info than they actually need.  Once I reported someone overwatering with the water running into the street, saying it was the house on the southeast corner of Elm and Main.  The operator insisted on getting the address, which I didn't have.  It's the ONLY house on the southeast corner of Elm and Main!

Once I reported a gray car illegally parked too close to the intersection at the northeast corner of Main and Elm.  The operator demanded the license plate #.  I explained, if an officer can't find a gray car too close to the intersection on the northeast corner of Main and Elm without a license plate number, they shouldn't be a police officer.

I called to ask who I could talk to about whether certain items were recyclable, because the city's website was silent about those items.  (i.e., coffee cups, aseptic packaging)  The agent insisted on reading the website to me, even though I'd just explained that the answer wasn't there.  I tried to press on finding out to whom I could speak who had actual knowledge, instead she insisted on relaying a message, so I explained about aseptic packaging, she didn't know that word, I spelled it for her, she said, "septic packaging"?  At that point I just gave up.


#3 2018-05-17 08:50:51

Registered: 2013-10-10
Posts: 231

Re: 311 service requests for cleaning bike lane debris

My 311 experiences are mixed.  Lately, I seem to be on a good run.  We have had two dead cars towed away from our street (A woman had actually died in one of them and her family left it.  Don't leave children and pets in cars in the summer - AND, pro tip, don't leave dead bodies. It still gives me the creeps.)  Also, there was an RV parked in an alley that was blocking one of our routes.  All of these vehicles were dealt with in a matter of days.  At first they wouldn't move the dead ladies car because it still looked operable. BUT, the next day someone made it inoperable by pulling the valve stem out of the tire and then refiled the 311 report.

The problem I have had with 311 is that they will close a case without explaining why.  Sometimes it is because the case has been referred to another department.  Keep the case number they give you and call and follow up if nothing gets done or the case is marked as closed online.  If the 311 operator can't answer your questions ask to be transferred to whoever can.  I have had some success with that, but it definitely takes some time. 

The online form is frustrating because the drop down choices never seem to include what I need.  But, you can send them an email.  I do that and send myself a copy to forward to my council person if nothing gets done. And yes, include all possible info.  Use google maps to get an address if you don't know it.  They do seem to use missing info as an excuse to not do anything.


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