I’m addicted to calling 3-1-1. Ever since I first heard about the city’s catch-all public issue hotline, I’ve found a bushel of reasons to call. Broken sprinkler? Call 311. Overflowing public garbage can? Call 311. Wanna check the wait time for brunch at Tower Cafe? Call 311.
In all honesty, I’ve found the responsiveness, professionalism, and follow-through from my 311 interactions startlingly good. As a recent transplant to the actual confines of the city (formerly living the squire’s life in the county) I’ve be consistently impressed by many ofthe services the city offers. Whether it was picking up my (free) resident parking permit, chatting with folks that work at the park across the street, or havingÂ non-criminal interactions with city police I’ve found the city employees to be competent, accessible, and friendly.
As an example, myÂ first 311 call went like this: 1) I noticed that the large tree in front of my house was looking pretty dead, not quite Stonewall Jackson dead, more like Carol Channing dead, a few green leaves left but otherwise a hulk of lifeless biomass, 2) I stared at said tree for weeks, thinking someone else would take care of it, 3) I decided that as a citizen, I would take care of it, 4) I called 311, 5) after a brief conversation, the friendly operator said someone would be out to look at the tree soon, 6) within an hour, I received a phone call from an “urban forestry” department employee who told me she was standing in front of my house and that yes, indeed that was a pretty dead looking tree, 7) within two weeks, the tree had been cut down, stump ground, and sidewalk cleaned. They promise that a sapling would be planted to take its place in the fall.
It’s rather comforting to have government do things well every now and then. We might not exactly be at the forefront of public transportation, but the “City of Trees” sure knows how to take care of its deceased.