Manny Citron from PhillyRising never misses an opportunity to tout the mobile app for Philly311 whenever he is at a meeting in Frankford. So I was almost happy when the opportunity presented itself a couple of weeks ago to test it out. I noticed that a contractor, working on a house on our street, had left a pile of debris at the curb for pickup. I’m not sure what made him think the city was going to pick it up but that is another story
Thursday, after the streets department had correctly ignored it, I went over and used the iphone to report it on the newly installed Philly311 app. You can report it with a picture and it will even suggest your current location for you. It was a few houses off the address so I entered it manually.
I made the report on January 30th. I got a notice that afternoon that the request had been forwarded to the Streets Department. The next morning came a notice that the request had been dispatched to a work crew. I noticed that the mess had been cleaned up on the afternoon of February 1st. It may have done late on the 31st.
I don’t know if it works this well with every request but it sure worked for this one. The request still has not been closed out on the Philly311 system but I know from past experience that they seem to lag behind on that end.
Also, we don’t know if any action was taken to collect from the property owner for the cost of that work crew. Contractors who work in the city should know that they have to remove construction debris. It will not be picked up by the Streets department.
Thanks to Matt Ainslee for the tip a few months ago. He has been using the system through another app called Public Stuff. The PublicStuff app hooks you up directly with Philly311 so there is no difference there but their web page is better then Philly311 for lookup after you have submitted the request.
You can get both apps at the App store for your mobile device. Its available for Android, Blackberry or iPhone.
Bottom line: this is a win for residents who want to use 311 on the go.