Friday, September 21, 2012

Philly311's New App Is Promising But Missing Bicycle-Related Categories

The app in the iPhone app store
Philly's 311 service recently unveiled a free app allowing engaged citizens to submit requests via smartphones. It's a promising application. You submit a request by selecting the issue type from a pre-set list and then locating it within Philly via a Google Maps interface. You can also search the map for existing requests to see if someone else has already spotted the same issue, and second the call for its speedy address. Submitting a request gives you a ticket number and you can visit your request on Public Stuff's Philly subpage.

The app even gives you estimated response times based on type of request (10 business days for a street light outage, 30 for an abandoned car. No time offered for reporting Chase Utley's damaged knees).

Unfortunately, there are no pre-set categories related to bicycles. The only way to report an abandoned bicycle, a bike lane in need of refreshing (repainting), or an unsafe road condition in a bike lane is to use the "Other" category. We tested the app by submitting a request that the irregular asphalt in the westbound bike lane at 41st & Spruce be smoothed over before more people get hurt when hitting it in the dark.

Anyone using this yet? Let us know what success you have with requests being addressed. And if you'd like to see bicycling categories added to their pre-set list of categories, tell them at and