A woman walks in the street after snowmageddon 2011. The City administration wants to avoid forcing people to walk in the street. Photo by Jim Watkins.
Mayor Emanuel announced on Tuesday, in a press release, a new website and effort to address snow shoveling and removal problems. The complete effort is packaged nicely on ChicagoShovels.org. It has many features, and I’ll focus on three (only one of which is available right now):
- Plow Tracker – When there’s a snow storm, the position of every snow plow will be tracked and published on a map. See Plow Tracker in action.
- Adopt-A-Sidewalk – Claim a portion of the sidewalk that you’ll shovel, and share your equipment with neighbors (coming soon).
- Snow Corps – Become a volunteer to shovel the sidewalk and door path to seniors and people who are disabled who call 311 to request a volunteer.
Continue reading Shovel it: How two ideas plan to impact sidewalk snow removal this winter
Logan Square, looking northwest, taken October 11, 1968, during construction that moved the Northwest L underground. It previously terminated at Kedzie and Logan Boulevard.
The Chicago Transit Authority didn’t launch their Twitter account and page on Facebook until November 1 this year, but as of this writing has 5,008 followers on Twitter, and 4,972 likes on Facebook. I wrote the day after launch that there was “latent demand” for these methods of communication, and that CTA provides myriad other tools for getting information. Continue reading CTA late to social media but performing like a pro
A screenshot of the Spothole homepage.
In part 1 of Street issues, 311, and apps: tying them all together I talked to Chicago’s Chief Technology Officer, John Tolva, who painted the picture of how we can interact with 311 and city services in the near future. Open311, among other things, is a platform to enable a connection between apps (web- and smartphone-based) and the service request system.
For part 2, I talked to Stefan Draht, a designer and programmer who created Spothole (with design contributions from Brett Schnacky). The app is ready for your vote in the Apps 4 Metro Chicago contest. It’s an intuitive and interactive way to report potholes in Chicago. I met Draht at Moving Design during the summer, for which he originally created the app; it’s now in version 2.0. Continue reading Street issues, 311, and apps: better communication with Open311 – part 2
Imagine photographing with your smartphone this metal plate that’s supposed to cover the sewer at Bloomingdale Avenue and Milwaukee Avenue and immediately uploading it to the City’s 311 system for fixing. That’s the power of Open311. (It’s finally being repaired.)
311 is a phone number and a service request management system that the City of Chicago operates to give information to citizens (about services the city provides) and collect information from them (about situations that need fixing).
311 was implemented in 1999. In 2011, 12 years later, it’s not yet possible to make a request online and receive a tracking number (called an SR number for “service request”). I know there are apps and platforms in other cities that allow for a more modern way to collect and submit requests for service. This year I read that Code for America would hire young programmers to come to Chicago and “convert” the old 311 to what’s called Open311. Continue reading Street issues, 311, and apps: tying them all together – part 1