By Dana Fowle, firstname.lastname@example.org
When you have a problem and need a city service, sometimes it’s hard to know who to call. And when you do call, often it takes days, sometimes weeks, to find out who can really handle your issue.
This is precisely why three years ago the City of Atlanta launched ATL311, a one-stop city hotline service. You simply dial 311 or click a link at www.atl311.com to reach a customer service center where they will get your request in the right hands.
Many of you have already used ATL311 to report a downed tree, missed garbage collection or maybe to establish a new water line. And it’s important to use this system because the city collects the data and tracks neighborhood trends for future funding and budgeting.
But, the system can be used for more than fixing individual problems. It’s also a tool that can be used to bring attention our way. This is why your Candler Park Neighborhood Organization has started the 311 Magnifier program as a companion to our sidewalk repair initiative.
The infrastructure committee is working with the city in an upcoming door-to-door campaign to offer to help you get those crumbling and broken sidewalks fixed. But sometimes something just gets in the way of this progress – and that is a tree. Yes, you’ve seen the 150-year-old tree roots that have lifted the concrete creating tripping hazards.
Here’s what you may not know: If that old tree is planted street side, it’s the city’s responsibility to either remove it or to repair the surrounding sidewalk. But sometimes one lone voice requesting this repair seems to go nowhere.
Each month CPNO’s 311 Magnifier program will focus on a tree root that is impeding foot traffic and possibly sidewalk repair, and we will tackle it as a team. At the monthly membership meeting and on NextDoor, we will make available a formatted complaint so that we can report an issue in large numbers with a unified voice.
Frequently, complaints are filed about the same issue by a number of neighbors. But, by using different addresses or different explanations in the incident report, the impact is diluted. ATL311 customer service doesn’t make a connection between these two incidents and files them as separate, unrelated reports.
When five or 10 neighbors file a complaint using the exact same information, the report is more likely to get attention more quickly.
So, keep an eye out for the 311 Magnifier logo at your CPNO membership meeting, in The Messenger and on NextDoor.