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A site called BostonAmigos.com (“Interesting news by cool dudes”) posted a story yesterday with the headline “Newton’s 311 System Is In Shambles” by Cyrus Vanatrov.   It’s one man’s tale of using the 311 system to get a pedestrian crossing sign sign at the four way intersection of Lowell Ave., Highland St., and Hull St.

The gist of the story is that initially the 311 system worked miraculously – a 311 request was submitted and a sign went up within days.  The problems came later.  Twice in the intervening years the sign was removed during construction projects and didn’t go back up.  These times, the 311 requests didn’t work as well and the situation only got resolved with calls to City Hall.

It definitely points up some bad handling of this specific 311 response.  To leap from there to “311 System is in Shambles”” is quite a leap though.  My best guess is that there’s probably some back-and-forth disagreement behind the scenes over whether this particular pedestrian sign was a good idea or not, rather than assuming its a breakdown of the entire 311 system based on a single incident.

In any case, it does sound like, at best, this 311 request was mishandled.  Even if someone in the city thought the sign shouldn’t be replaced, the communication back to the requester was clearly botched.

My personal experience with the 311 system is that its usually very effective and continues to be.  What about you?  How’s the 311 system been working lately?