This week’s column from Boston City Hall by Mayor Martin J. Walsh:
Bostonians are the eyes and ears of their communities. That’s why, in every neighborhood, I’m always asking residents what we can do better. I count on your responses to make our city services the best they can be. But I can’t take every request myself. That’s why the Mayor’s 24-hour Hotline is one of the most valuable tools we have. And that’s why, this month, we gave it a big upgrade and a simple new number: Boston 311.
311 is easy to remember and easy to dial, and it works from both land lines and cell phones. Call to report any issue that affects our city’s quality of life, from pothole to a broken swing set to an overflowing trash can. Call to ask questions about services, from big-item pickups to birth certificates and business permits. If our dedicated operators don’t have the answer, they will connect you to someone who does.
Boston 311 is much more than a new number. It’s also a smartphone app called BOS:311, an upgrade of our award-winning Citizens Connect. The new BOS:311 version adds 10 new options on an easy-to-use, redesigned menu. Just as with the old app, you can pinpoint the location of the problem and submit a picture along with your message. You can download it today or simply update Citizens Connect on your phone.
If you prefer to connect through social media, Boston 311 also comes with a new Twitter handle—just tweet at @BOS311 with any of your requests or concerns. Meanwhile, @NotifyBoston has transitioned to @CityofBoston, which will provide news and events happening around the city. Finally, Boston 311 includes a new self-service website, boston.gov/311.
In addition to being easy to use, this integrated new system is a powerful tool. All the input from across these platforms combines into a stream of data that we use to track our performance and better understand our city’s needs. The reports appear on a dashboard mounted right in my office, facing my desk. It allows me to see concerns as they arise in real time across all of Boston’s neighborhoods. Every single day, your calls and tweets motivate me and my staff to work harder and make Boston better.
I hope our commitment to Boston 311 makes it clear: we are dedicated to top-notch city services for every resident, in every neighborhood—and for commuters and guests, as well. We’re incredibly proud of the innovative thought and dedicated work that went into building this new system. Boston is once again pioneering modern city services.
But the end result is very simple: Boston 311 gives you the easiest, smartest, most direct way to communicate your needs to us, the people who serve you. That makes it a powerful force for civic engagement. Whoever you are, and wherever you live, with Boston 311 you’ve got a connection in City Hall.