Navigating New York City is tough
I don’t mean the subway, buses, or finding the best bagel place. I’ve lived in New York City for 5 years now, worked with municipal governments at PublicStuff for 2 years, and I’m still learning about the ins-and-outs of navigating the various City agencies, offices, and boards. When I first heard about PublicStuff partnering with the Staten Island Borough President’s Office, to be perfectly frank, my first question was “Why? How is this different from 311?” And so continued my education about navigating the services provided by New York.
Staten Islanders would agree: it’s a different place from the rest of the City. There’s higher personal car usage, which makes roadway issues more apparent to residents. Higher rates of homeownership can mean more neighborhood pride, and thus higher rates of reporting code and property concerns. But, these are all still under the purview of the different City agencies, and getting the help you need is still difficult to do.
This is where BP Assist comes in
Like the 311 staff, the Borough President’s Help Line staff navigate the different City agencies in order to report a problem on your behalf. The BP’s office takes it a step further and keeps constituents updated about the progress of his or her request. The Borough President’s office also has a lot of local knowledge about neighborhood-specific issues, which can help expedite getting the right answers for your corner of Staten Island. Prior to partnering with PublicStuff, this was managed in an older system, lacking resident interactivity and modern touches of web and mobile app submission. With BP Assist, constituents can report issues like dark street corners, poor road conditions, and traffic safety concerns.
Supporting long-time residents and building toward the future of the Borough is important, and BP Assist helps support the vision of development along the waterfront, and keep pace with the growing tech scene on the Island.
I’ve had a great time working with Borough President Oddo and staff to get BP Assist up and running for Staten Islanders. It’s been a pleasure working in PublicStuff’s home city to bring greater transparency and improved technology to residents and staff. It’s also a nice reminder, from a resident point of view, that the people you’re working with in local government are your neighbors and share your local concerns, and celebrate your local improvements.
There are so many resources available to New Yorkers, and that can make it difficult to find the answer you’re looking for. I’m glad Staten Island has taken the step to bring improved technology to residents and staff. Next up: Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and The Bronx?
*This post was originally authored by Alexis Phillips, Account Manager at PublicStuff, on the PublicStuff blog.