Dear PoP – Pedestrian hazards on Q St, NW

1400_Qst_NW_8-23-09, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“Dear PoP,

Hazards on the streets and sidewalks are nothing new in DC, but when new obstacles develop it can be a painful experience for pedestrians. This sign on Q street NW near 14th is one such example. While walking with friends last night, I happened to look down to check a message on my phone, when BAM! I smacked into the bent sign pole. There is a debate about the problem of distracted pedestrians, however one expects to have a relatively free and clear path on the sidewalk. Hazards such as broken, low-hanging signs, and sinkholes can be dangerous and even deadly to the visually impaired, joggers, and yes, even to those distracted momentarily with phones, groceries, and pets. We should all be alert on the streets for such hazards, but sometimes when our senses fail us, it can lead to a painful impact.

DC is rife with hazards popping up on the roads and in neighborhoods, as covered many times by PoP. Often times the city government finds itself behind the curve in identifying, tracking and fixing these hazards. Other cities are meeting the needs of the citizens with innovative technology. The city of Pittsburgh, for example, recently introduced iBurgh, an Apple iPhone app, to help citizens report hazards and document problems on the streets by easily uploading pictures, location and descriptions of problems. DC should look to providing tools, such as iBurgh, to help citizens ensure government is responsive to problems. In the long run these tools will help DC government be more effective and nimble at addressing problems, and it could even save money and headaches by addressing problems before they develop into something worse.

The current web service request site for DC is here.

Info on “iBurgh” is here.”

I have to admit when I first read this I chuckled a bit. But the reader asks a good question – should DC have more up to date technology like the iphone app “iBurgh” to report problems like this?

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