My name is Zack, and I recently joined SeeClickFix as the Director of Media Partnerships. I'm stoked!
As a die-hard cyclist, I spend a lot of time on the bike: for transportation, for fitness, for recreation, and occasionally for competition. This means that I also spend a lot of time thinking about road hazards (potholes, glass, sand etc), dangerous intersections, bike theft, and the lack of bike racks/parking. Back in March of 2008, I nearly crashed while cycling down Crown Street in New Haven, due to a giant pothole deep enough to devour my wheel. Shaken but not deterred, I wanted to act, for two reasons.
First, I thought it was important to give a heads up to any fellow cyclists, as a preventative measure. Second, and perhaps more importantly, I wanted to let the city know about this road hazard, so they could fix it!
Obviously, as this wasn't an emergency situation, calling 9-1-1 wasn't appropriate. Unfortunately, the only alternative I was aware of (previous experience) was to call City Hall and wait on hold for someone who had bigger fish to fry than to write down the location of a single pothole in a large city. Been there, done that. What to do?
Fortunately, through word-of-mouth, I had heard about this new website that empowered citizens to publicly report non-emergency issues to their city government, and to their fellow citizens. So when I got home, I logged into seeclickfix.com, and reported my first issue (Giant Pothole, issue #39).
Within a couple of days, someone from the city commented on my issue, acknowledging the problem, and letting me that a solution was on the way. Not long after that, the road was paved over, as promised. BOOM, talk about action?! I had just experienced the power of SeeClickFix first hand. I instantly became a fan.
In the years since then, I've watched SeeClickFix grow to become an indispensable tool of the urban cyclist, on the level of importance of a pump and spare tube. I smiled as an empowered group of residents secured installation of much-needed bike racks installed in Brooklyn, near my old neighborhood of Red Hook. I sighed relief when the city of Charlotte, NC, in response concerned citizens calls for a roundabout, redesigned a dangerous, accident-prone intersection with a traffic roundabout (video). And I felt motivated when one Washington D.C. resident compelled the city to extend a bike lane down a key corridor to a public park. These are just three of tens of thousands of issues that have been reported, acknowledged, and fixed via SeeClickFix, issues affecting citizens from every walk of life, not just cyclists. Simply put, SeeClickFix is helping governments across the U.S. and around the world improve the lives of citizens.
I'm excited to join such a promising tech startup in the #Gov20 space. Having my undergraduate degree in Political Science, and having interned in the U.S. House of Representatives (Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro), I'm happy to now work for a startup that is helping to bridge the distance between local governments and citizens. In addition, saying yes to the opportunity to work for a CEO like Ben Berkowitz was a no-brainer. In just my first week, it's become apparent that he has fostered a culture of teamwork, transparency, and targets. (Whoa...3 t's...sorry to get all corporate on you.)
I look forward to helping to grow SeeClickFix, gaining both more users and more usage, through media partnerships and beyond. Want to use our tools? Email me anytime, or give me a shout on Twitter.
Happy pothole reporting!