Boston Adopt-A-Hydrant

Via New Urban Mechanics:

To adopt one of Boston’s 13,000+ public hydrants, go to Once you sign in, you can choose and name – the hydrant(s) you would like to volunteer to shovel out. You will receive a confirmation email with your hydrant location(s) and shoveling tips as well as friendly reminders when snowstorms hit.

The Adopt-A-Hydrant application was developed by Erik Michaels-Ober, a Code for America fellow, who served with the City of Boston in 2011. The City is piloting the application this year. If successful, the City will explore how this application could be used to encourage adoption of other streetscape features, such as trees. The app also is available for other places to use and, to date, three cities – Chicago, Honolulu, and Buenos Aires – already have expressed an interest in adapting it for use by their residents.

Does anyone think it’s worth petitioning the City Council to see if we can adapt it for use in Worcester?

For those of you following along at home…

I’m going to be making a short (though everyone knows me — the mayor’s going to have to cut me off!) public comment on items 11d, 11e, and 11h on tonight’s Council agenda.

Here is the detail for what I’m going to talk about.  (If you read this blog on a regular basis, there’s nothing new in here; it’s just packaged for a certain audience.)  Let me know if you think I should say anything else.

(Also, you should get your Bingo cards out for tonight’s meeting.)

Have we finally reached the 21st Century?

Or have we just gotten to a point where Konnie Lukes reads my mind?

I keep procrastinating about petitioning the City Council regarding government 2.0 stuff, but that’s ok — Konnie just did it for me.  (See this week’s Council agenda.)


11d. Request City Manager report on the development of a “crowdsourcing” program to be initiated on a pilot basis on the City’s website as a web based collaborative for polling and problem solving based on citizen input. (Lukes)

11e. Request City Manager provide a legal opinion as to what controls, if any, can be used by the City regarding inappropriate responses to a “crowdsourcing” project and whether the identities of responders can be required. (Lukes)

11h. Request City Manager report which city departments and officials use social media, such as Facebook, Twitter etc., and the process and criteria used in determining which department or individual uses social media and what purpose and accomplishments result from the usage. (Lukes)

So, I guess I’ll try to make some sort of public comment at that Council meeting, where I will say something along the lines of, “IdeaScale is free and awesome, people!”

Let’s do a rundown of the City and Social Media for Konnie, though —

The Library is on Twitter, Facebook, etc.; you can text or chat live with a librarian as well.

The Police do press releases via Twitter, and you can text an anonymous tip.

DPW&P has an excellent Twitter/Facebook feed, along with their winter parking ban text service.  You can also chat live with a customer service rep during business hours.

Worcester Emergency Management is on Twitter.

Worcester Arts Council is on Facebook, as is the Citizen Advisory Council.

Worcester Cultural Coalition is on Twitter, and has an excellent email newsletter you can sign up for

You can also sign up for emails from the City of Worcester’s Economic Development office or the Planning office (or both).

Does anyone else have anything to add?

I Am Officially in Love

(I will leave it to Victor to wax romantic about actual people.  My love is reserved for pieces of software and certain elderly men with weekly columns in the T&G.)

I’ve previously expressed my admiration for ManorLabs.  (And the Mayor once again threw me a bone by mentioning FB & Twitter at Tuesday’s City Council meeting; located towards the end of the Liveblog.)

I’ve found a similar software called IdeaScale for managing ideas and suggestions.

It has thumbs-up/thumbs-down voting on proposals:


Wiki-style editing:

And decent tools for moderators:

The best part?  It’s free to government agencies.  I highly recommend the City look into using this for citizen suggestions.

Vote for Project

As discussed in this post, I’ve put together a poll with your suggestions for a project to bring to the city — let me know if I’ve missed anything; I had to summarize some of the (wonderful, long) comments into a bite-sized chunk. 

(Also, I know I promised a poll yesterday, but I’ve been busier than usual.  I mean to respond more to the comments as time permits; as always, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the comments and continue to feel that those are the best parts of this blog.)

Regarding the poll, you can vote for up to two choices, and on Friday, I’ll pick one of the top three vote-getters as something we can work on.