Following up with the Citizen’s Request System

09/08/2010 9:30 AM by

by Michael McPeak

Following up on the September Church Hill Association Newsletter article on the Citizens Request System (CRS), I decided to use it to make two requests of the City on 23 August – one, a Priority request and the other, a regular one (anything not defined as “Priority” by the City).

The Priority request, with which I attached a photo, was to repair a Pothole on North 23rd Street at East Broad. I received an e-mail from the City acknowledging the request and informing me that “You will receive updates regarding your request, including the closure of your request.” I observed that the work had been done by 25 August which was pretty impressive; however, even though the pothole had been filled by 25 August, I only received word from the City on the 31st informing me of this, closing the work order and thanking me for helping “Build a Better Richmond”.

The second request concerned sidewalks (“Unsafe Conditions (Sidewalk/Alley/Etc)” in the CRS jargon) on both sides of North 23rd Street between East Grace and East Broad. Again, I received an acknowledgement from the City and a link to a web page where one can follow progress on their requests. Unfortunately, the link to the page did not work. But, the City does: I called and had a good discussion of that problem with an employee who promised to follow up on it. He also looked at the request and informed me that a sidewalk inspection was scheduled. To be continued.

While each request had some minor hiccups, the conclusion must be that the City’s System does work, is easy to use and helps us to help them. Of course, on occasion, calling 311 can also be effective. Witness the recent sidewalk repairs on the east side of North 29th Street just south of East Grace generated by just such a phone call.

However, one clear advantage of the CRS is that it provides documentation on all requests and ways to track progress. So, if something is not getting done a follow up with the work order number in hand is a clear advantage. Hopefully this route will replace the all too often heard complaint: “but I called the City about this several months ago.”

Remember, it’s in the interest of Church Hill residents to request the City to redress these and other problems set out in the CRS (and elsewhere). There are budgets established by the City to deal with these issues and if they aren’t spent in our neighborhood, they will be spent in others.

Guest written by Michael McPeak. Have something that you’d like to see published?



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