I am getting tired of the cold weather. Here in DC we usually start to see Spring right about now and are able to look forward to warm weather, rooftop happy hours, and cherry blossoms. I decided, though, that instead of being negative about the everlasting winter I would look on the positive side and take this extra time to plan out my spring cleaning. I originally was only looking at cleaning my apartment and getting out my summer clothes, but then I came across this article. Spring cleaning can be more than just dusting and vacuuming, it can be about change in a variety of ways.
Government of the people, meet the people. With technology making our world smaller and more closely interconnected than ever before, it seems only natural that new social media like SeeClickFix.com could link citizens and government in productive dialogue about issues affecting the public space. Recently we helped bicyclists in Lansing, Michigan help clean up debris-coated bike lanes.
Spring time brings messy streets just as much as it brings flowers: John from the League of Michigan Bicyclists noticed that all sorts of gravel and debris has collected in the bike lane on Kalamazoo St. in Lansing, MI since the snow melted. You can tell how bad it is in the photo he posted.
After he filed a report on SeeClickFix, a city official responded within eight hours. Not only did she inform John that the street would be given priority when street sweeping began, she explained how the city’s system works, complete with a phone number for checking up on a street’s status. John was grateful and suggested that the city sweep all
the streets with bike lanes first. Prioritizing bike lanes would be an easy way for the city to act in accordance with its new Complete Streets ordinance, John wrote on the issue’s SCF page. Erica from the City of Lansing, said that she’d be happy to forward the suggestion on to the Superintendent of Public Service.
By creating this space for discussion, we hope to build up the development and implementation of good ideas in the public space. Local problems will find straightforward fixes from those who know the area best. Moreover, the provision of public services is too often a thankless job. By making the process a little more transparent and a little more accessible, citizens get a better idea of how much work public servants are doing on their behalf – and ultimately, they are much more grateful for it.