|I used the DC311 mobile app to report this damaged school zone flasher on April 23, 2013.|
**UPDATE: I just got off the phone with Ben Berkowitz, co-founder and CEO of SeeClickFix. It sounds like, for this specific request, downtime in the API may have caused it to get lost in a purgatory of sorts, rather than it being directed to DC311/OUC. Berkowitz noted that if a service request continues to show as "Open" with no response at all, it may be best to manually close the request and open another. Additionally, he mentioned that a very small number of requests in DC—something like 30 out of 18,000—have been caught up in this type of glitch. You can check under "Notified" in the right column on a specific request on the SeeClickFix site to confirm that it's been passed on to DC311. From my conversation with Berkowitz, it's also clear that DC has been at the forefront of municipalities embracing SeeClickFix as a large-scale, interactive tool.
While I still have concerns about the confusion at OUC about whether or not the request could be accessed depending on if I submitted it via the mobile app or via the SeeClickFix website, I am generally pleased with the interaction and results today. Overall, I am happy to see DC embrace Gov 2.0 tools, and I hope bumps in the road like these are considered as learning opportunities and not as reasons to inhibit or stop the progress we've made in this realm so far.**
Hang on, folks, this is a long one, though worth it, because it very likely outlines any number of the collective frustrations out there with the state of government ops and constituent services in the District (and possibly beyond)....
In May 2011, SeeClickFix announced platform integration with DC's Open311 system, and there was much rejoicing across the Distrcit: from Gov 2.0 nerds (like me), from oft disgruntled residents (like me), and even from the now-defunct Daily Gripe column on the Washington Post's website:
Now, instead of solely relying on operators fielding phoned-in requests to the city’s 311 line, residents and visitors can send non-emergency reports to 311 through SeeClickFix’s free mobile and web platform that allows them to pinpoint locations and upload photos and videos.[emphasis mine]Did you see that? Mobile and web platform. In case you think the Post got their signals crossed, let's go back to the horse's mouth—the official press release from the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer, dated May 24, 2011:
SeeClickFix is a free mobile and web platform that allows citizens to submit online reports of non-emergency public problems to governments. The SeeClickFix platform is available in many locations and formats, including mobile phones and widgets on the Washington Post and other city blogs. Citizens can access SeeClickFix at SeeClickFix.com, The Washington Post, Greater Greater Washington, and The City Fix.
Overall, the integration of SeeClickFix with the District’s 311 system ensures a seamless flow of information between residents and District officials, and a more efficient way of fixing problems throughout the city. [again, emphasis mine]
After over a month with no repairs on a lopsided school zone flasher, and a still-open request on DC's SeeClickFix site, I reached out to DC311 on Twitter on Monday, July 1, and followed up again on Wednesday, July 17:
@311DCgov Why is this still open? I reported in *April* when school was still in session—serious hazard for kids: http://t.co/0Btd61bHNUMuch, much more below the fold...
— Jaime Fearer (@bogrosemary) July 1, 2013