I had what might be called a 311 moment on Veterans Day.
While walking to the ceremonies at Fountain Square, I saw that the traffic signals at Church Street and Ridge Avenue were flashing red instead of operating properly.
The stop signs attached to the signal poles were still folded closed — which seemed to suggest city workers might not yet be aware of the problem.
Drivers approaching the intersection were behaving amazingly well under the circumstances, and it didn’t look like there was imminent danger of an accident.
Calling 911 didn’t seem like the right move. And, you know, I don’t happen to have the non-emergency number for the police department programmed into my cell phone.
So who are you supposed to call about a problem like that? And is Veterans Day a holiday when city offices would be closed?
Now, after covering city government for a while, I know traffic signals are handle the Public Works Department.
And I could have opened the web browser on my phone and gone to the Public Works Department page on the website … where I could have found that there is no phone number listed for how to contact anybody about anything there.
Oh, no, you need to go to the Contact page on the city website to find phone numbers for departments.
Well, by that time, if I hadn’t tripped and injured myself staring at the cell phone screen while walking, I would have already been at Fountain Square and been busy with other things.
How much easier just to know that 311 would let you report any non-emergency issue with city services.
Sounds like a winner to me. So, here’s hoping aldermen don’t strip funding for the project from the city budget.
Trim the planned 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. hours a bit, perhaps. But give the new program a try.