FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES CITY’S NEW SCOUT PROGRAM IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, August 19, 2007
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“Safe, clean streets are a big reason why today, New York City is stronger than ever. They have made our communities more attractive places for families to live and businesses to invest, and they have helped us bring a record number of tourists to the five boroughs. Many New Yorkers know that the streets are safer than they’ve been in more than 40 years, but it’s also true that our streets are cleaner than they’ve ever been since the City started keeping track back in 1975. In fact, last year, a record-breaking 94.3% of streets across the city were rated ‘acceptably clean.’
“One of the key tools we have used to improve street cleanliness can be explained in three simple numbers: 311. The data we collect from 311 help us identify and fix problems more quickly – not only litter and garbage, but every type of quality-of-life problem. Earlier this summer, 311 logged its 50 millionth call – and some of them came from me. Like many New Yorkers, I call 311 whenever I see trash or graffiti, and it was during one of those calls that I suddenly wondered how many more problems we could report to 311 if we had a team of inspectors working full-time to survey the streets.
“Last week, we turned that idea into a reality by creating a roving team of 15 City specialists to comb the streets for quality-of-life problems such as dirty sidewalks, illegal dumping, graffiti, and potholes. We are calling the team ‘SCOUT’ – which stands for Street Condition Observation Unit. The ‘T,’ in case you’re wondering, stands for teamwork –– because the unit will be made up of members from a number of agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Parks, Buildings, Sanitation, and Environmental Protection.
“On average, the inspectors will each cover about 20 street miles a day. That means they will cover every street in the city – including yours– about once a month. When an inspector finds a quality-of-life condition, he or she will report it to 311 through a Blackberry that uses a GPS system that automatically identifies the exact location of the problem. The more problems we can get into the 311 system, the more effective the City will be in responding to them.
“To make sure that our roving SCOUT teams are producing real results, we will be developing an accountability system to monitor whether their reports receive prompt attention. Part of that accountability system will be making the SCOUT reports available to the public on the City’s website: nyc.gov. After all, you have a right to know the issues in your neighborhoods – and a right to hold your government accountable for addressing them.
“Making all of our neighborhoods even more attractive places to live, work, and visit is key to our city’s continued growth and vitality. That’s why I’m going to continue calling 311 whenever I see a problem that needs to be fixed. I hope you will, too.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958