Daly City lets residents report problems via Web site 

The Daly City Department of Public Works is going high-tech with a new online service that allows residents to report pesky problems such as litter, traffic lights, construction and graffiti.

Launched this month, Citizen Maintenance Request comes as a more streamlined alternative to calling or e-mailing and an easier way for the public to track problems on city streets.

The service, accessible from a menu on the home page of the city’s Web site, allows residents to choose between six types of requests, describe the problem and fill out their contact information. If someone chooses to report a problem with a traffic light, for example, the site offers specific options to indicate whether the light is out, flashing red, or the problem is actually with a pedestrian push button or signal.

City workers will contact those who filed requests and check out the problems. Concerned citizens will be able to track the progress of their requests online.

Until now, residents could contact the Public Works Department or the Daly City Community Cleanup Committee, a group of volunteers who track problems occurring on private property. The new online service will make it easier for city employees to keep in touch with the public about the problems they see, explained Patrick Sweetland, interim director of the Public Works Department.

"Sometimes, we get a message and the person doesn’t leave a number," he said. "This will help with making direct contact with the public. The intent is to try to expand outreach to the community."

Most requests in Daly City deal with litter or graffiti, Sweetland said. Many of the requests go to the Community Cleanup Committee, which then enforces the city codes. According to committee chair Sharon Keenan, only 5 percent of the requests they receive go unresolved and have to go to the Public Works Department.

The committee, which has been helping thecity clean up its streets since 1968, will not be replaced by the online system, Sweetland said. However, Keenan said the committee was unaware of the new service and wants to be in the loop about how things will work from now on.

The new service did not cost the city additional money because it was done in-house by the Information Services department. In a couple of months, the city will add a new service that will allow residents to see what public-works projects are going on in their neighborhoods, according to Information Services Manager Jerry Burdick.

"We’re trying to grow our online presence, but not trying to be cutting-edge," he said. "We want to deliver Web services when there is demand for something."

After the service had been up for a few weeks, there were more than a dozen requests posted on the site, including reports about trash, graffiti, speeding and not enough parking in an area.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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