DataByte: Power to the Community

We all know the one - the one that looms there night after night, creating the perfect absence of light at the end of the street where your evening walk with the dogs needs to take a turn to get around the block. And although we are all grown up now, the dark watching you at the end of the street is a little more frightening than you’d ever admit...

‘If only they would fix that street light,’ you think.

SeeClickFix is a great online website where you are able to report neighborhood issues. Anything ranging from a flickering or dead streetlight, potholes, sinkholes, graffiti, overgrown trees or shrubs that block sight of traffic, lost signs, damaged signs - you name it. This is a platform where you can take action on existing problems in your neighborhood that officials need to be made aware of. It is a way in which citizens can connect with the ‘officials’ in their community to bring solutions to neighborhood problems.

The tool is easy to use. To report an issue, you simply enter a location or address then provide a description of the problem, and even upload an image if you so choose. The tool has an App which allows you to make reports from the convenience of your mobile device. You also have the option to receive alerts about a particular area if you want to know where to avoid potholes or risky issues.

Sarasota County is already making use of this online tool. Many reports have been made all over the county and ‘Sarasota County Administrator’ has an eye over the reports being made. To push an already reported issue, you can vote for that issue to increase the chances of it being addressed. There will always be a pothole in the road, but this will allow officials to take notice of those that are collective community issues.

So next time you trip on a cracked sidewalk, make a quick report. This tool is not only a way for communities to improve on the built environment, it is also a way for us to work together in effecting those changes and improvements. To improve pedestrian safety, make reports when pedestrian signals aren’t properly working or are not timed appropriately. If there is a corner where drivers fail to take notice of pedestrians, make a point of reporting proper signage for pedestrian right-of-way. To improve the safety of bicyclists, submit an issue if the bike lanes have become faded and need to be repainted, or are incomplete. In this way, a safer built environment for our communities comes from the small actions many community members.

Unlike city officials that maintain infrastructure, we live in our communities every day and we are more in tune with the needs of our own built environment. Is it not then our responsibility to point out the issues and the improvements?

SeeClickFix is an easy and accessible tool that make neighborhood issues aware to those that need to know those issues exist. Maintaining and improving on our built environment is a community effort. This is one way in which you can take action.