The old axiom about New York City government is that it's a bureaucratic hell, an exasperating nightmare in which John Q. Public gets passed from department to department whenever a problem crops up and immediate assistance is needed.
Does your upstairs neighbor play his stereo at all hours of the night? Is the pothole on the corner big enough to double as the neighborhood swimming hole? When is the next garbage pickup for your building?
Well, answers to those types of questions and more are just a phone call away with the debut of 311, a citizen service hotline where operators can answer frequently asked questions and respond to quality of life issues like unreasonable noise, dangerous road conditions or a broken streetlight. The new hotline for non-emergency service calls launched in March, and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is staffed by professionally trained operators who will answer all types of questions, log service requests and refer callers to appropriate city agencies, according to the mayor's office.
Noise is the number one issue on the minds of city residents followed by questions about the smoking ban and requests for smoking cessation information; pothole complaints; blocked driveways; traffic signal defects; landlord complaints; requests for information about the earned income tax credit; requests for information on chlorofluorocarbon/freon removal; requests to repair defective streetlights; and rules for alternate side of the street parking.