City officials have reported misleading statistics on their response to citizen’s pothole complaints, but how do they measure on other common street repairs?

Two months ago, I obtained a database of every request for infrastructure repairs filed with the city’s Street Division. The data provided me with a list of every request as it was categorized by city workers, the date of its receipt and the date of the city’s first response. The data included requests filed by citizens and city staff.

To be clear, the data represents every request for service and not when repairs were actually completed by the city workers. Some complaints may not have resulted in a repair because city workers decided there was no problem to fix.

Still, the data shows how long it took city workers to make their first assessment of potential problems. Street Division officials say their first priority in responding to requests is the public’s safety. The data confirms that complaints with safety concerns like traffic signals are addressed faster than other problems like curb painting or street lights.

Dozens of people contacted me after my pothole story earlier this week and said should check out the city’s response time to other city services. I continued my analysis of the Street Division’s database and produced a list of the city’s average response time to the most common complaints between Jan. 1, 2008, and Aug. 31, 2009.

Each category is listed more than 400 times in the database and altogether, the categories represent 75 percent of all complaints. The average response time was calculated in a way that includes non-business days, including weekends and holidays. In other words, the number represents the actual number of days people waited.

The following list of categories are used by the Street Division and ranked by the frequency of complaint. (When it says 0 days, it means a same-day response occurred.) Please join me in the comments section below for a discussion about these response times. I want to hear your thoughts.

  • Light Out: 18
  • Pothole: 16
  • Locate Underground Wire: 2
  • Traffic Sign: 19
  • Paint Curb: 22
  • Tree Related to Concrete Damage: 12
  • Signals on Flash: 0
  • Tree/Limb Fallen or Hanging: 3
  • Minor Asphalt Repair: 28
  • Trim Tree for Pedestrians or Vehicle: 11
  • Major Asphalt Repair: 31
  • Sidewalk Encroachment: 21
  • Signals All Out: 0
  • Trim Tree for Blocking Traffic: 7
  • Evaluate Tree for Removal: 15


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