Minneapolis 311 app provides modern way to gripe

app2.PNGMinneapolis released an app this week that allows residents to report everything from potholes to broken traffic lights.

Those are the same sorts of issues residents have been able to submit by dialing 311 for the last six years. But now it’s possible to post them from iPhone or Android smart phones (phones running other operating systems can access the system through a browser ).

Minneapolis 311 Director Don Stickney said the app allows residents to report problems, as well as search posts by other residents in their neighborhood.

“We pretty much deal with anything from A-Z, I like to say, from animal control to zoning and everything in between,” Stickney said. “It’s just about anything non-emergency here in the city of Minneapolis.

Already, residents have been uploading service requests, complete with pictures.

One resident posted a photo of a trash can and fire hydrant splashed with graffiti at the corner of Longfellow Avenue and 31st Street in south Minneapolis.

app1.PNGAnother resident posted a complaint, thankfully without a picture, about dog waste being left in a yard in Cedar-Riverside.

The app’s messages feature will keep residents updated about their service requests as they move through the city process.

“Once it hits our system here, our work order system, you get an acknowledgement saying that we received it here at the city,” Stickney said. “When it gets closed here at the city or whenever the issue’s been resolved, you’ll get a message back that tells you what happened to it.”

Setting up the system cost about $60,000. But in the city’s view, that’s a bargain. The cost of routing a complaint through the automated app is about one-tenth of talking to a 311 operator over the phone, Stickney said.

The city plans to change the options in the app as the seasons change, and different problems arise, like snow.

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