Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welcome to our new 311 Blog!

As 311 marks its two-year anniversary, having handled over one million phone calls calls already and hundreds of thousands of visits to our 311 web portal, we are setting up this blog so that you will have one more way to give us feedback on our 311 system. County Executive Ike Leggett established 311 to make County government more effective, more accountable and more responsive.

That meant one number to call – 311 – for information and to request County government services.

311 is, essentially, the front office operation for all County departments. We take the information, create service requests, and send them to the folks who do the work. When you call 311, you are calling the department. In many cases you are speaking to the same folks who handled those calls before 311 was established.

The 311 Customer Service Center is designed to make it easier for county residents to obtain information, make service requests, and track progress on those requests. The system will also give the County timely information on County department performance to more effectively target resources to particular areas and needs.
Before 311 many residents didn’t know what number to call. When they reached someone it was often the wrong person. Often they simply reached a voicemail and never talked to a “live” person. There was little to no ability to track service requests across departments and tracking even within departments was often unsystematic. The information County managers used to allocate resources and solve problems was often not timely or was more anecdotal than scientific.
By consolidating County department call centers and doing away with duplicative systems and licensing fees, 311 saved the County about $10 million in its first two years. 
About two dozen phone numbers have been transferred to 311, leaving about 11,000 numbers that can still be dialed directly. If you call 311 and ask to speak to an individual County employee, you are connected. If we call for an issue that’s handled by the State, by municipalities, MCPS, or other agencies, we will connect you directly to them.
And, of course, our web portal – at www.mc311.com  -- is available 24/7. Most service requests, including, most recently added, bulk trash and scrap metal pickup, can be handled through the portal.
Every few months we survey County 311 users and have consistently found about a 75 to 80 percent satisfaction rate. That’s fine – but not good enough. We are making constant improvements.
For example, in mid-August, the 311 Call Center will expand its hours from 7 AM- 5 PM to 7 AM to 7 PM to better serve working families.
Let us know how we are doing – and thanks for visiting this blog.


Patrick Lacefield
Director, Montgomery County Office of Public Information

65 comments:

  1. Why don't you have a blog posting during this week's storm?

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  2. Thanks for your posting. We did include on the right side of the Blog page all the County updates during the storm.

    BTW, 311 took over 12,000 calls (not to mention website visits) during the week of the storm and the immediate aftermath -- despite having to relocate the operation due to power failures that shut down the building in which 311 was located.

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  3. I made the call to 311 to report no-show Ride On Bus, the rep took my information and submitted without asking if I want to comment. She said go ahead. I gave my comment that it was not the first time, it happened too often and I spent between 15 to 45 minutes waiting for the late bus in last two months etc... She said she understood then hung up on me. I'm deeply offended by the treatment I received from 311 customer service, it was my first call to 311 and was surprised by this. If you want to improve the satisfaction rate, DON'T ever hang up on them. I was being nice and reasonable, why hung up on me? The call was less than 5 minutes, I tried to figure out why they hung me up.

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  4. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Campbell,

    Thank you for taking the time to let us know about the unsatisfactory experience you had when you recently called 311 to report a no-show Ride On Bus.

    I apologize that you did not receive the excellent customer service we expect our Customer Service Representatives to provide. She was confused on the handling of a video relay call and discontinued the call too early. Her supervisor spoke to her to clarify our process. The service request # 1124171003 that she created has been handled by a Transit Depot supervisor who noted that Route 52 was missed that day due a shortage in personnel. I hope you will give us another chance the next time you need information on a County program or would like to make a request for service.

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  5. This is cool. How I report rat in park on the blog?

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  6. Mr. Lacefield, thank you for your public service. 311 is a great service and I hope it continues to improve and thrive. What are the County's plans for a mobile app? Hopefully one similar to the District's (http://ouc.dc.gov/page/dc-311-smartphone-app) will be released soon. Please advise, and thank you.

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    1. Thanks. Yes, we have made it easier for our residents. Just go to mc311.com on your smart phone and it takes you to the mobile version of the 311 web portal automatically -- where you can search general information yourself and even send in service requests. No need to even download (or update) an app.

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  7. I'll never waste my time calling 311 again. I've both called in and used the web page to ask questions. All I get is someone who is poorly trained or doesn't know anything about the subject issue. At best they tell me I can "try" calling another number (which is a guess on their part). And of course the status of the service request ALWAYS says "closed and complete". So I guess the stats for 311 look great, despite lousy service.

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    1. Thank you for your feedback. If the 311 service did not meet your expectations, I apologize.I did pull up our records and it seems that you have contacted us about downed tree limbs, electronic payments, and other issues. Our call-takers are well-trained and strive to provide quality service. Nevertheless, if there is a problem we want to know and we follow up. Any problem is one problem too many in my book.

      As for service requests being "closed," that is only supposed to happen when a department has completed the work. Early in 311's existence, departments sometimes closed them prematurely, when they had added them to their list to do, rather than when they were completed. 311 has worked with departments and, now, that happens much less frequently.

      As for stats, our satisfaction surveys -- which run upwards of 80 percent -- are based on answers from 311 users, not on 311 statistics.

      I would be happy to chat with you in more detail if you want to talk. Again, thanks for the feedback. I want to hear it all.

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    2. I can confirm, requests are still closed without resolution.

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    3. Thank you for your feedback. I reached out to our Department of Transportation and I understand they have taken care of the pothole. I think you still have some issues with WSSC but I believe you now are in touch with a County inspector who may be able to help. You are right that service requests should not be closed in the system until the request is fulfilled. We are doing lots better on that but we need to improve more. Again, thanks.

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  8. For some reason our yard clippings were not picked up on our regular collection day October 30, despite being set out the night before. Our zip code is 20910. We have more clippings this weekend. How can we be sure they are collected on the next scheduled collection day?

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    1. Thanks for your message. Either send me your address or call 311 to give them your information. Sorry for the miss.

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  9. While we appreciate the plowing of our street, I cannot understand why the plow operator felt the need to leave large boulders of snow in front of residents' driveways or a large wall of compact snow and ice blocking access to our mailbox. Our street has plenty of room for piling the snow where it will be less inconvenient.

    Steven Thornberry
    11216 Knolltop View Court
    Germantown 20876

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    1. Thanks for your comment and sorry about the snow and Ice. I have asked Highways Services to address this.

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  10. How do I submit a question to 311 via the web? I don't see where to do this on the 311 home page.

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    1. Thanks for your question. Go to the search box on the upper right corner of the web portal (www.mc311.com) and type in a key word or words. That will take you to the knowledge-based articles with information on your issue.

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  11. I called 311 twice to report broken bollards on my street. Apparently the first time the call was not recorded. The second time, the person on the phone did not understand what a bollard was. I spent awhile explaining it to her, but I don't think she ever understood. The next day (today) I received an email that the service request is "completed" and the Status is "closed." The service request was not completed, and the status should remain open until the bollards are repaired and replaced, Thanks. The service request no. is 1178200926. Please change the status to open and please have these bollards repaired. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. Yes, the service request should remain open until the work is done. We are following up with Highway Services to ensure completion. I have to admit, though, that I had to pull my dictionary off the shelf to look up the word “bollard.” Now I know!

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  12. Hello, I found the snow plow info I needed on the county website but before that, I called mc311 to ask my question, and after pressing # to reach someone the recording basically said we're busy, try back later, and it hung up on me. So my first question is, really? Is that the level of service my tax dollars are paying for, that I call the county and get hung up on by a machine? My other question is, in the single entry posted on this 'blog' you write that most service requests can be handled through the mc311 portal. I looked for quite a while and did not find any link whatsoever to send a county request via the mc311 website. A search on words such as 'submit,' 'request,' and 'email' turned up nothing. If that claim is true, shouldn't the link be obvious?

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    1. Mr. Lynn, unfortunately, on Friday morning MC311 experienced technical issues that impacted us for a couple of hours. It is back up now. I apologize for the inconvenience. To create and send a service request online, please visit www.mc311.com and enter a key word that describes your issue into the Search box. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and hope you will try again.

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  13. I seem to have the same question as others who came here, and there is not a straight answer which is frustrating. Telling someone to search for a KB is not a good answer. It seems to me that there needs to be a general catch-all request form/link on the home page. I tried searching, and did not find the "right" place for my request. Sure, I can call during the week instead, but then what is the value of coming to this site? My request is simple: There have been orange flags duct taped to the stop signs at both ends of Rimrock Rd since last year's leaf collection. Who needs to come remove these? THANKS!

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that there ought to be a way to send in something that “falls between” the established KBAs in the search box. Let me work on that. In the interim, I have forwarded your “orange flags” request to our Department of Transportation.

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  14. Thank you for forwarding, but how long should we wait to declare this "process" a failure? Who exactly did you forward this to? Please give me the specifics so I may follow-up. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks. You can call Susan Payne in the Department of Transportation at 240-777-7196.

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  15. I'd like to report a clogged cement pipe. It takes rainwater under our street.

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    1. Please provide the exact location of the clogged pipe and we will submit a Service Request. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

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  16. Could someone explain the logic of putting a big "Your Speed" unit in the middle of Tuckerman Road between Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road, which starts hysterically flashing in BIG RED NUMBERS when drivers are going well under the posted speed limit? The speed limit is clearly posted 40 MPH, but the unit starts flashing red as soon as a driver reaches 31 MPH - 9 miles per hour slower than the limit. This is a huge distraction, as drivers slow down even further as they try to figure out what they're doing wrong. What's up with that?

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to email your concerns about the electronic sign board located at Tuckerman Road between Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda. That sign was placed there by officers in the Montgomery County Police Traffic Division due to numerous complaints from community members about speeding in that area. After the receipt of your email, the sign was checked and found to be electronically malfunctioning. It should not flash unless a vehicle is traveling faster than the posted 40 miles per hour. Officers were able to fix the problem on May 30. Again, thank you so much for bringing the situation to our attention and please continue to drive safely!

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  17. Over fifteen years ago at the Rockville Metro station my neighborhood civic association (ERCA) was promised by a Ride-On customer service representative, in-person, that a badly damaged, graffiti covered Bus Information sign on the East side of the Rockville Metro station would be taken down; yes you read that correctly fifteen years. We are still waiting for that PROMISE to be fulfilled by Ride-On.
    Recently I have tried using the on-line service request form at the MC311 web site. My original service request was opened on 8/27/2013 (#1158715095). It was subsequently closed and noted that the problem was taken care of; it wasn’t. On 3/17/2104 I made a follow up call and asked that the service request be reopened since NO WORK WAS DONE. I was also promised a phone call by a “supervisor”; I never got that call.
    Today, 6/9/14, I called 311 and gave my story and a new ticket was opened #1204528643. I was firm and as president of the civic association volunteered to meet a Ride-On rep at the Rockville station to show them exactly what we are talking about and again left my phone number (I won’t hold my breath for a call).
    For the record - the 311 service just like WMATA’s customer service has the exact same problem – there is no follow up; the loop is not closed. No one checks back with the CUSTOMER to see if the requested work was actually done AND if the customer is satisfied; service requests are just closed and the customer IS NEVER CONTACTED AGAIN. That is NOT “customer service”.
    So I have my new service request (#1204528643), I vented firmly but nicely with the 311 operator now let’s see if anything gets done.
    If anyone is interested I have pictures of the disgraceful sign that is representing Ride-On; makes them look like a 4th world operation to anyone visiting the Rockville Metro Station. Just send an email to president.erca@gmail.com
    Thank you for listening.
    Chas Hausheer, current president of ERCA

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    1. Thank you for your email – and your patience. We have followed up with DOT. These display cases were installed by Ride On long ago on WMATA property. DOT has now removed the broken plexiglass and all the old schedules. Rather than pull them up, Ride On is looking to update them and use them for Ride On information. Your service request should not have been closed by the department unless the work was done. Hopefully, now, the situation will be rectified.

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  18. For the past 3 days I have experienced No Shows on bus 61 and 71 to Shady Grove in the AM. I contacted 311 and they are useless. The Real Time App does not provide accurate information as I shared with the calltakers. During my call, I was provided 3 different times and none of them were accurate. The only explanation given was their information is coming from a satelllite. When asked to speak to a manager it did not get any better. The response was that no many people are calling in to complain about Real Time, so in this case my route to work is going to be a continuous problem if I decide to use Ride On. Shame on you 311 and Ride On Bus. If the schedule is not going to be honored then don't provide the service.

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    1. Dear Carolyn,

      I know what you mean. I regularly use RideOn to ride to my job. I am generally pleased with the service. I think they do a good job. When a bus doesn’t come, though, or is consistently late, I’m right there with you.

      Here’s what Transit Services was able to find out:

      “With the information given, the Route 61 and 71 were researched for July 14 through 16.

      “Our investigation revealed that:

      - Service on the Route 61 was disrupted the morning of July 14, 2014 from 8:30am – 9:30am, and the morning of July 15, 2014 from 7:20am – 8:18am, because we encountered multiple unscheduled operator absences and had no replacement operators available.

      - On the afternoon of July 15, 2014 from 2:26pm – 3:30pm, weather and traffic caused the Route 61 to be delayed 35-45 minutes.

      - On the morning of July 16, 2014, the bus assigned to the Route 61 that left the depot at 4:15am encountered software problems which did not allow the GPS system to be activated for the Real Time app. This bus was brought to the shop and is currently being repaired.

      - The Route 61 at 7:20am encountered mechanical problems and was towed back to the depot.

      - The Route 71 was investigated for the same days and there was no data showing the service was missed for July 14 through 16, 2014.

      “We value our customers and the feedback they provide to help us identify areas in which we can improve. As a public provider, it is our continued goal to provide the best transit service possible. Again, we apologize for the service you have experienced, and appreciate that you brought this incident to our attention.”



      Carolyn, please let me know if these problems continue.

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  19. MoCo's "Alert Montgomery" emails have become worthless. I see an alert telling me the NWS has issued a winter weather advisory -- but your alert doesn't tell me what time the advisory is set for. What am I supposed to do with that? I also don't like that there is no way to unsubscribe, except to call 311 during weekdays. This county has a lot of tech-savvy professionals living here -- you might want to hire one to give residents a way to unsubscribe from worthless emails.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Usually, Alert Montgomery takes information such as this right from the National Weather Service. Usually they have time frames, the one you identified didn’t. Below are the last two we have sent. New users can unsubscribe by logging into their alert Montgomery account https://alert.montgomerycountymd.gov and this is available 24/7. You only need to call 311 to unsubscribe if you did not update/create a user name and password when the system was upgraded in September 2014:

      “The National Weather Service has issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for Montgomery County beginning at 10:00 PM tonight. Accumulations of 2-4 inches of snow can be expected through tomorrow. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is issued when frozen precipitation is expected which may impact travel. Travel may become hazardous. Caution should be used during any travel.

      “The NWS has issued a WINTER STORM WATCH for northwest Montgomery County beginning at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, 1/25/2015. Residents should prepare for possibly significant snowfall within the next 48 hours.”

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  20. Not sure what happened to my post and am resubmitting.

    I do NOT like the 311 system. It is an unnecessary layer between Citizens seeking answers and the agency they are trying to reach. It is SLOW, requires REPETITIVE EXTRA steps to communicate and is a cumbersome DISSERVICE to Citizens of Montgomery County. I prefer to be able to call an agency DIRECTLY and ASK what I need to ask but ONLY SAY IT ONE TIME! I fail to see WHAT the County gained by implementing this BURDENSOME DISSERVICE! Not the way I want my Tax Dollars spent! Put it Back the Way it Was! RESTORE THE PHONE DIRECTORY. PLEASE!

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    1. The 311 Customer Service Center is designed to make it easier for county residents to obtain information, make service requests, and track progress on those requests. The system will also give the County timely information on County department performance to more effectively target resources to particular areas and needs.

      311 is, essentially, the front office operation for all County departments, including the County Executive. We take the information, create service requests, and send them to the folks who do the work. When you call 311, you are calling the department . In many cases you are speaking to the same folks who handled those calls before 311 was established.

      Again, 311 is taking the calls and immediately passing along the information to those who do the work.

      Before 311 many residents didn’t know what number to call. When they reached someone it was often the wrong person. Often they simply reached a voicemail and never talked to a “live” person. There was little to no ability to track service requests across departments and tracking even within departments was often unsystematic. The information County managers used to allocate resources and solve problems was often not timely or was more anecdotal than scientific. Through 311 we are tracking how effectively County departments get the work done.

      I have to disagree strongly with your notion that the previous system was better. Before, mostly people reached voice mails. Calls were returned, not returned, missed, voicemails piled up, folks left incomplete information.

      Also, 311 has already saved the County millions of dollars.

      All County telephone numbers are available through the County’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov .The protocol for 311 is to connect all callers asking for an individual person by name with that person.

      We recently completed a survey of County 311 users and found about nearly an 80 percent satisfaction rate. That’s fine – but we are shooting for 100.

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    2. I agree with "Retired" above. For those who remember the old system, it should remain in place and a transition OPTION for those who do wish to create a work order through 3-1-1. Just now, I placed a 311 call to clean up human excrement in the parking area of a Rec Ctr. I clearly stated the name and location of the center. However, it was not noted and I've been on hold now as the clerk has no idea what to do with my request. (She wants me to go and speak to the mgt., on my time... there is no mgr at this closed bldg).Now she is back on the phone w me telling me I should call Facilities Maintenance! Why don't YOU DO IT, as I am not going to spend more of my time doing so. Let the stinkin' excrement stay in MoCo as a visitor monument. However, that is NOT the reason for my contacting you. I am contacting you about calling 311. It used to be 311## to bypass the interminable menu. Now the ## does not get me past the repetitive menu. And then, the entire order of the asking for the zipcode is just wrong. Don't ask that question until AFTER the caller gives the reason for the call. Asking beforehand is distracting and annoying. Ask afterwards. Many clerks don't ask for it because they must know how very annoying it is. It would truly reduce my 311 stress if I wasn't slung that distraction and requirement for passing through the gate. Patrick, there are notable exceptions to the clerks with attitudes and wrong #s and misinformation; they are a credit to 311 and to the County. I'm sure you are aware who these seasoned and alert individuals are. I have appreciated their efforts. I know you defend 311, but at a recent assn mtg., a police spokesman joined in the snickers when 311 was mentioned. Yes, important for the County to save $. But your list of complaints with the old system (Calls ...not returned, missed, voicemails piled up, folks left incomplete information) is still the same with 311, in my experience. It is surprising that there is a 311 protocol to connect callers asking for an individual, but good to know. One laughable and not surprising incident occurred when I wanted to speak to "the council" -- I was given the # for the legal counsel office. Patrick, I've been complaining before. It's only because I really knew the old system and judge everything by my network of phone #s and how I was previously able to get the info I was looking for. Maybe it's because I'm asked too many q's by 311 people and that is difficult for me. I do agree that 311 is a good idea, but when I call, I don't want to hear the preamble, let's get to my question right away.

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    3. Dear Ms. Knight,

      I’m sorry to hear that you were not satisfied with your call to 311 on March 24 to report a maintenance issue at the Leonard D Jackson Ken Gar Center parking lot. It appears the Customer Service Representative was not clear on how to handle the issue, so put you on hold for a moment to discuss with a supervisor. The Department of General Services handles the maintenance of County Facilities and has asked us to provide their phone number to customers who call with maintenance issues. The Customer Service Representative (CSR) should have offered to transfer you over to Facilities or to make the call on your behalf. The supervisor of this CSR has spoken to her about how to handle this type of call in the future.

      Thank you for letting us know that you are no longer able to bypass the welcome message by pressing ##, I will have someone take a look at this. The brief welcome message is used to correctly route customers and to provide some basic information about how to handle true emergencies and other ways of accessing 311. We ask for the zipcode at the beginning of the call for statistical purposes, even if an address is not required to handle the call or create a service request. It is the way the system is currently set up, but I agree that it can cause an awkward flow to the greeting. I’ll work with our team to see if this can be changed to be less distracting.

      We are taken nearly three million calls and are getting about 50,000 web visitors a month. Even though we are getting almost 80 percent satisfaction rates based on responses from thousands of customers, we are constantly looking to improve. The system is working for the County but we are not resting on any laurels.

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  21. Is there a place on MC311.gov to report problems with leaf collectors? We live on a court and the leaf collection truck was blocking the road. I was not able to exit. I asked them to back up or pull forward to a wider place (Fernwood road leading to our Court is narrow--about 1 car to one and a half car widths maximum) so I could pass. The truck driver kept honking and waving me into the ditch. Finally a supervisor (I guess) came over and told me I could pass by driving into the shoulder/ditch where there are 4 foot leaf piles. I declined and explained that I replaced a tire 48 hours ago because of driving in a ditch and that I had had two flats since September. There is non stop construction in this neighborhood and lots of debris. The supervisor refused to move it. Iasked how long before they moved and they said at least 15 minutes. I waited (although I do not believe it is ok for them to block a road when there is only one way out. When I returned from my errand 30 minutes later some of the workers yelled at my car as I drove by. They then continued to pick up leaves across the street from my house, down the court and back and when they got to my house they drove right by. Our leaves have been out there for more than two weeks. Now all of Lybrook Court is done and I doubt they are coming back. This was bullying behavior and it is unacceptable. We have taken a date stamped photo to show that the leaves were out there (and the neighbors will back us up). Please get the leaf collectors out here asap and also please remind them that it is a violation to block the only exit with their truck. It is not acceptable to force residents to drive on grass or in a ditch to get by.

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    1. Thanks for your posting. We will contact our Department of Transportation right now to get the job done And circle back on what happened.

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  22. Any idea when side roads are going to get plowed? Can not believe that after 24 hours of the snow stopping our road as not been touched. Afraid I will have to shovel over 1/4 miles of road so I can get to work tom.

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  23. Thanks for your email. This historic snowfall of nearly 3 feet means that clearance of roads includes not only plowing but also hauling away record amounts of snow. One of our challenges is that in many places snow cannot just be pushed to the side, but must be hauled out. Below freezing temperatures mean even cleared roads ice overnight.
    Our County crews continue to work 24/7 to get things back to normal but this is a multi-day event. The first priority was to clear 1000 lane miles of emergency and primary roads. That alone took about 36 hours, including retreating them after the Sunday night freezing temperatures. That is done. Now we are doing primary residential streets and, next, the rest of the 4,000 lane miles of residential roads. The initial object is to make them passable, not bare pavement. Then there will be follow-up runs.

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  24. I live in the Westleigh neighborhood, Dufief Dr.. Is there any way we could get flags attached to our fire hydrants,so they could be located quickly in the snow?

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    1. Good idea. I will raise this with Fire & Rescue for the future.

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    2. Part of the situation is the hydrant ownership – WSSC, Rockville City Public Works, and Poolesville town. The 2nd situation is the number of hydrants. As of 2012 the county was supported by nearly 22,000 hydrants as outlined are: WSSC 20,300; Rockville - 1,400; Poolesville - 300. Establishing a flag marker program would entail a $ 200,000- $300,000 project. Given our community and traditional winter snow accumulation, the operational benefit of flags may not outweigh the cost and operational impacts.

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  25. Why is the snowmap so inaccurate? For two days the map has indicated that my neighborhood plowing is in progress but nary a plow in site. In my 21 years in Bethesda, our street has never been cleaned within four days of a major storm...all neighbors pitch together to dig it out as we just can't count on Montgomery County. A Silver Spring colleague, who lives in a neighborhood, has already been plowed three times...why such uneven service?

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I will pass along your question on the snow map to our Dept. of Transportation as to inaccuracy. Our crews are working 24/7 on the 218 snow plow routes. You raise a good question about unevenness, which I will make sure is included as we move forward. What is your street?

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    2. Thank you. Burling Court in Bethesda. I know we traditionally are a low priority because we are not a thru street, but we still need to get out for work, doctor appts., etc. like everyone else. This storm is particularly hard because of the four foot ice mountain at the bottom of street making it difficult to even walk to the metro.

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    3. Thank you. We are finishing up initial passes thru all residential neighborhoods. Let me know if you haven’t been served.

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  26. Loring Drive and Loring Court in Bethesda have not had an initial pass-through. Understand the challenge of this storm, but the County no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt that it has handled this properly. Not sure why some minor roads have had multiple passes while others have not yet had a single pass.

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    1. Thanks. I will pass these along. County crews continue to work 24/7 through the neighborhoods in our 218 plow routes. We owe them our thanks.

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  27. I called 311 to complain about the snow plows covering my driveway for the second time, and all I received was an explanation that the plows don't intentionally cover peoples driveway and that one should shovel the snow to the right of your driveway, but this is impossible on Barbara Road in Silver Spring, MD. It's also very inconsiderate when a I am the only person in my home that is able to shovel, even though it took a toll on me physically. Considering there have been several people who have had heart attacks because of shoveling this heavy amount of snow, I would think that the county would want to instruct their snow plowers to be more considerate when plowing. I certainly don't want to suffer a heart attack because I have to keep going outside every time a snow plow comes through my neighborhood and dumps more heavy snow into my driveway that I have to go out and shovel, and as each day passes the snow gets heavier and heavier. I doubt anything will be done about this, but I had to get my message heard.

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    1. Thank you for your message. Unfortunately when snow plows are clearing streets that snow has to go somewhere. This is especially the case when we are plowing 24-37 inches as in this storm. If huge drifts make it impossible to clear sidewalks we understand. We do however want folks to do what they can when they can. Our crews continue to work 24/7 to improve roads and haul away snow.

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  28. Has the Montgomery County Noise Ordinance been suspended due to Jonas storm clean up efforts being done during the nighttime hours? I haven't seen anything formally issued by the county regarding suspension of the ordinance.

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    1. Thanks for your question. County noise ordinances explicitly exempt snow removal operations on streets and sidewalks.

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  29. Thank you for providing this great service. Today, a brigade of Bobcats and dump trucks cleared the giant piles of snow blocking street corners in our neighborhod and did some fine finishing with shovels. Earlier this week, a snow plow widened our road WITHOUT blocking driveways. I say thank you to both and thak you to Montgomery County for being so responsive to comments and requests.

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  30. It would be nice if mc311 had a "chat" feature with the operators, instead of having to use the phone for quick questions. My question is: With the ban on Styrofoam, but raw meat trays from the grocery being exempted, what is the proper disposal method? recycling or trash? thank you

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    1. Thank you for your question regarding expanded polystyrene (foam) meat trays that are exempt from the County’s ban on polystyrene food service products (Styrofoam™). After the trays are used, they should be disposed of in the trash. These trays are not recyclable in Montgomery County’s recycling program.

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  31. The snow mountain at the corner of Wightman and Goshen Roads needs to be moved/cleared. This huge mountain of snow is blocking the sidewalk on Wightman and pedestrians cannot access the sidewalk and so have to walk in the street. It's unsafe. I called 311 and rep says I need an address. How crazy is this? The county road has no address. Just the 9200 block. Help?

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    1. Thanks for your report. An address just makes it easier but we’ll get it addressed.

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  32. I have a specific question regarding clearing sidewalks in our community. The county installed an asphalt walkway along Shawnee Lane in Clarksburg Md that runs past our town home community. The walkway is separated from our community by a fence that runs the length of our community. I know the general rule is that a person is responsible for removing snow and ice on any sidewalk, other walkway on or adjacent to property that the person owns, leases, or manages. However, I know there are exceptions to this general rule as well. Because of the fence, the walkway is not accessible by the home owners whose homes reside on the Shawnee Lane side of the community. However, they could walk around the fence to access the walkway and clear it. I know in 2014 the county approved a bill to create a map outlining who is responsible for clearing each sidewalk in the county, but I don't believe the map is available at this time. Is there a resource to definitively answer whether these sidewalks would be the community responsibility given their configuration and location to the community and town home owners near them?

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    1. It appears that, based on the location of this sidewalk and that the residents do not have direct access, it would not be the responsibility of the homeowners to address this sidewalk. On the other hand, it might be a homeowners association HOA responsibility as they manage this community and would be responsible for upkeep of the grounds such as grass cutting and maintenance and would include the snow removal.

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  33. Mr. Lacefield, Bundle of Thanks for your service. 311 is a Effictive and Reliabale service and I hope it's best Service to Upcoming Services.Please Let me know have do you have any Windows Phone App for Related this ?
    Thanks
    Bernard tyler
    http://blockeddrivewaytowing.com

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Montgomery County 311 includes a web portal which offers county residents the following features and benefits:

      • Supported on all mobile device platforms
      • Allows residents to access county services via desktop computer or mobile device twenty four hours a day seven days a week
      • Integrated to a knowledge base with over 3,000 articles about county provided services
      • Allows residents to submit requests for service online for over 600 different county provided services including pothole repair
      • Allows residents to track the status of their requests for service
      • Routes requests for service to the appropriate department’s work queue immediately
      • Integrated to an Enterprise Customer Relationship Management system used by the MC311 Customer Service Center and county departments
      • Integrated to the DataMontgomery site providing the public with access to raw data sets which can be utilized for analytical and other purposes.

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