New Website In The Works – or in the CRAPR

–UPDATE– No positive feedback on the pothole idea, but with the rains and weather lately places right in the middle of Helena are flooding so I changed the categories a bit and the same website can be used for reporting on flood events, road closures, evacuations,  shelters, etc.
…still no real positive feedback, so it may be my idea that’s ready for the CRAPPER.

OK, so I was on-call over Memorial Day weekend and couldn’t really go out camping and enjoying the holiday so I decided to do something productive and learn some new web apps at the same time.
I made  http://crapr.net  – The Crowdsourced Repository and Pothole Reporting site. It’s a site where any citizen in Butte can find and report the most serious of all scourges of government…potholes.
Seriously. If you watch the comments posted on the MT Standard or listen to Old Timers bitch around a bar-stool you’d be surprised how often the argument “…they spend money on that while our streets crumble…” anytime some new development or government expenditure comes up.
So on this site someone can take a photo, make a report, and have the location show up on a map along with all the other potholes in town.
Want to see where is the worst area of town? Just looks for the most red dots.
I happen to think it will get some use, even though a member of the Council of Commissioners poo-poo’ed the idea saying that people who want action are happy writing letters and making phone calls. Sure, the people who want a SPECIFIC hole filled will call and complain. But not everybody wants to really get involved. Sometimes they just want to feel like they are still a part of the process and not just a tax paying vein that the government can continually tap whenever it needs a few bucks.
People with no dog in the fight can do this. Sending Public Works employees out to drive every street and record every dip costs thousands. Asking citizens to report potholes in their neighborhood costs NOTHING. Kids can do this. How many of them have the ear of a Council-member?
Me? I don’t have a specific hole I want to see filled – I’d like to see them ALL fixed ASAP after being reported, weather permitted. This site allows people to not only make a report, but to check progress over time. Has it been filled 6 months down the line? They can also add multiple images to a single report to even show how a hole has grown and gotten worse over time. There is also room for growth. Im the winter when potholes are not an addressable problem, the same website could be modified for people to report streets that need to be plowed. I think Butte folks may just dig the idea of this thing.

I guess we’ll see.

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