Around Town | May 17, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 17, 2013

Around Town

WHAT'S THE 311? ... Remember the good old days when residents used to go to City Hall to pay parking tickets or call Public Works to lodge complaints about fallen branches of deep potholes? Those days haven't completely disappeared, though the city is trying hard to make these activities obsolete. To that effect, the city will unveil in the coming weeks its latest digital endeavor: Palo Alto 311. Like dozens of other cities — San Francisco and Philadelphia among them — Palo Alto is unveiling the new service to accommodate the changing needs of residents. Along with giving users a list of standard functions — a calendar of city activities, press releases and access to the library catalog — it will give them a new tool to report cracked sidewalks, graffiti and other infrastructural scabs. The tool, which will debut on June 1, will enable residents to use a smartphone to take a photo, hit "Submit," and then relax while their request goes to the appropriate City Hall official. Chief Information Officer Jonathan Reichental said the city will formally unveil the service at the downtown Hackathon that the city will be sponsoring on June 1, which has been dubbed the "National Day of Hacking." The goal is to register a few hundred users that day. The hope is that it will ultimately reach thousands.

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