From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
Last week, Mayor Vincent Gray’s office announced the launch of DC’s new smart-phone application, DC311 See Click Fix. The app allows citizens to use their iPhone or Android mobile device to make service requests, including complaints about trash, potholes, graffiti and illegal dumping. (Potholes in the District? Never.)
The DC Government’s 311 Service Center is already available online. Residents can report such issues and problems that also include sidewalk repairs, broken parking meters, dead trees and burned-out street lights –there are more than 80 different services requests to pick from.
Gray touts the free app as a step towards making good on his promise to improve the District’s responsiveness in providing services to its residents. “We continue to ensure that the District is a safe and beautiful place for all of our residents and visitors by giving them a tool for real-time collaboration with our government,” Gray said in a statement.
Like the website service, the free app uses GPS technology to pinpoint the location of the reported problem and funnels the request into a central database for action by the city. The 311 service then e-mails the user a receipt of the request to tracks its progress, providing transparency to what could otherwise be a murky, slow process. You are able to check the status of your request to see what progress has been made.
The 311 app is powered by SeeClickFix, this free download allows citizens to report service requests from their iPhone or Android mobile devices. A note to Droid-powered phone owners: If you have noticed that the app marketplace icon has disappeared from your phone, you need to go through their new app device, Google Play.
Urban Etiquette runs biweekly with Borderstan contributor Mike Kohn writing about some common-sense rules of etiquette with an urban twist. We welcome your ideas for future columns.
From Mike Kohn. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @mike_kohn.
Back in May, I finally gave in to temptation and retired my old flip phone (that I swear I got in 2009, even though walking around DC made me feel like it was as antiquated as the typewriter) and traded in for an iPhone. Yes, I’m obsessed with it. Who doesn’t love their smartphone?
In response, I can safely say that there isn’t a single person who doesn’t love their phone. Every person who owns a smartphone is so obsessed, in fact, that they cannot bear to put it down, no matter what they’re doing. Driving was hazardous enough as it was, but talking while driving caused accident rates to go up, and then texting and using apps while on the road just made it a whole lot worse. A slew of states have taken it upon themselves to pass laws about the use of phones while in the driver’s side.
Bringing it close to home, I’ve watched phone usage interfere with so many things in my day-to-day life. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of annoying times that I’ve noticed people who are consumed by the non-calling features of their phone:
- Walking in the middle of the sidewalk without paying attention to other pedestrians. We’ve already gone over my feelings about this.
- Stopping in the middle of the sidewalk or even the road (!) in order to make their Words with Friends move. I’m waiting for someone to get run over.
- Texting at Safeway and not realizing that the next self-service checkout line is available even though everyone is telling them to go.
- Taking up space on the escalator and not letting anyone else by. I’ve set it before and I’ll say it again — get out of my way or I will run you over.
Many of these things aren’t limited to smartphones, but because of their versatility, they present more opportunities to get lost in their amazingness. I’ll fully admit that I’m guilty of it — my punishment was running into a tree on 15th Street NW while responding to a text. So I will a little be that pot to you kettles out there and ask that you do a better job of noticing what else is going on.
If you have to stop to use your phone (and good for you for realizing you can’t type and walk straight!), pull over to the side of the sidewalk or at least finish crossing the street. It’s unrealistic to ask you to put your phone away (I know I can’t), but at least watch your surroundings and be ready to react.
Be smarter than your smartphone. I know you’ve got it in you.
We’ve told you before… many… many… times. Don’t be stupid with your Smartphone. In other words, don’t walk down the street – especially a quiet one by yourself – in the late hours yakking away on your phone, unaware of your surroundings. Expensive phones – and they’re really just small computers with a phone attached – are much desired by thieves and robbers. (Read An Interview with “Mugged.)
Five Smartphone Tips from Police
Lately the MPD has been reporting more thefts than usual of Smartphones – iPhones and Droids – by robbers. Here are safety tips for your phone, and you, from MPD.