Talk about hyperlocal heaven! The city’s 311 web site now features a searchable map which allows users to see the type and number of complaints coming in from specific locations throughout Manhattan. You can search by address, intersection, community district or City Council district. 311 calls are represented by yellow circles, which become larger as more complaints are registered.
In the screen grab pictured above, we selected the intersection of Rivington and Ludlow streets, a neighborhood hot spot.
In unveiling the new feature yesterday, Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith said, “I think citizens in real time have a right to know where the problems and trouble spots are in their neighborhoods… They need to have that information so they look at those problems and can hold government accountable, and propose solutions to those.”
There are, of course, a lot of opinions as to whether 311 is an effective way of dealing with problems. Even if you don’t get the results you’re looking for, it’s worthwhile to remember the act of filing a complaint is a critical step.
This is because in creating a record about noise issues or a delinquent landlord (to name just a couple of common problems), you are building a case for city agencies to take action down the road. It’s also worth noting that a call to 311 is a first step, but not necessarily your only means of confronting urban annoyances. You might also follow-up with your community board and elected officials. Very often, staffers in these offices can get a city agency’s attention a lot more easily than you or me. See below for contact info:
- You can file an online complaint or call 311 24/7.
- You can call your State Assemblyman, Sheldon Silver (212-312-1420) or Brian Kavanagh (212-979-9696).
- You can call your State Senator, Daniel Squadron (212-298-5565).
- You can email Community Board 3 at firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s also a complaint form you can fill out, directly from the community board’s web site. If you don’t have internet access, you can call 212-533-5300.