On Wednesday, the City of Minneapolis to help speed up the city's popular 311 phone service.
Patch had reported the announcement on Wednesday morning, but we were recently able to sit down with Don Stickney, the city's main man at Minneapolis 311, for some additional details.
The new app streamlines the reporting of nine types of problems and incidents from potholes to sewer main breaks. But, Stickney said, he'll be excited come winter, when the app will add another category for sidewalk shoveling scofflaws.
The righteous anger many of us feel while we see a patch of icy, snowy sidewalk next door to an elderly neighbor's house will be that much easier to act on.
Besides satisfying neighborly impulses, Stickney said, the technical guts of the service will actually speed up response to your complaints and concerns, and help the city better monitor its performance. The "tickets" generated by the app will go straight to the responsible department, Stickney said.
"People won't start running out on a Saturday night to fill a pothole," he said, "But it will be used as a way to identify slow response times. It peels back the onion layers (of government) a bit."
The city decided to partner with tech startup SeeClickFix, Stickney said, after reviewing data that showed the numbers of people coming to the city website and reporting problems on the Minneapolis 311 site through smartphones.
The app has a lot of room to grow, Stickney added.
"We are going to be exploring using it to combat crime," he said. "One of the things we want to be able to address are livability issues, like if your neighbor doesn't mow their lawn at all and the grass is three feet high."