Austin Answered: Who picks up debris from the road?


Highlights

The best way to report debris — and make other nonemergency requests— is by calling Austin’s 311 service.

If something on the road is causing an immediate traffic hazard, residents should call 911, officials said.

Beverly Clark was driving home a couple of months ago when she ran into some traffic on an Austin road caused by a fender bender, she said. After the wreck was cleared and police reopened the lane, she drove through pieces of broken glass, which made her wonder: When you’re driving and you come across some debris, who is responsible for picking it up?

“I didn’t know if you could call anybody from the city to clean that up or what,” Clark said. “Because generally nobody is going have something in their car to clean that stuff up.”

Austin Answered, our occasional series in which the American-Statesman answers your questions about the community, found out that the best thing Clark could do to get help with debris on the street is to call Austin’s 311 service, which takes requests for nonemergency city services.

“The community can call Austin 311 to report debris or items on a city street or in the right of way,” said Austin 311 spokesman Paul Bestgen. “If the debris is on a state or county road, we can always help connect callers to the appropriate agency.”

MORE AUSTIN ANSWERED: Why isn’t panhandling illegal?

In the year starting on Oct. 11, 2016, and ending last Wednesday, Austin 311 processed 3,293 debris requests, said Bestgen, which were then get sent to Street and Bridge Operations, a division of the city’s Public Works Department that also handles road maintenance and tree trimming. Debris mentioned in the reports can be a variety of things including garbage, traffic cones and tires.

“Requests related to debris ultimately gets routed to Street and Bridge Operations electronically,” said David Magaña, managing engineer for Street and Bridge Operations. “We have staff that goes and investigates the request, and if it’s something that can be handled right then and there by the person investigating the request, they’ll do that. Otherwise, they’ll schedule a request to complete whatever needs to be done after it’s been investigated.”

However, Bestgen said the number you should call to report debris can depend on the type of debris.

MORE ANSWERS: Where does money spent at Austin’s airport go?

“If there is something on the road, such as a mattress, causing an immediate traffic hazard, residents should call 911,” Bestgen said. “If someone calls 311, and the issue is an emergency, we can transfer the caller to 911.”

Clark said she never thought of calling 311 to report debris, a service she has used in the past to report her streetlights going out.

“That’s a perfect solution,” Clark said. “I have very good luck with reporting things to 311.”

GET UP TO SPEED: Check out other Austin Answered stories arising from readers’ questions

• Why don’t gas stations get credit card chip readers?

• Why doesn’t Austin have more east-west highways?

• Who is Maufrais, and why is the name written on Austin sidewalks?

• What are the oldest buildings in downtown Austin?

• Where do the Congress Avenue Bridge bats go at night?

• Why did the bathroom bill become such a big thing this year?

• Are algae blooms bad for your health?

• Why can’t you swim in Lady Bird Lake?

• Quick answers to 16 of your questions and 8 more



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Exonerated man sues Williamson County for not disclosing evidence
Exonerated man sues Williamson County for not disclosing evidence

For more than two decades, Troy Mansfield was a registered sex offender for a crime he did not commit. And all that time, the prosecutors’ case file notes in the Williamson County district attorney’s office raised doubts about his guilt and pointed to evidence that could exonerate him. After he and his attorney discovered that evidence...
Crews search for potential 3rd victim after Lake Austin boat crash injures two
Crews search for potential 3rd victim after Lake Austin boat crash injures two

A two-boat crash on Lake Austin Tuesday night injured two men and caused first-responders to launch a search for a potential third victim, Austin fire officials said.  One of the men was critically injured, officials said. First-responders got the 911 call around 8 p.m. and went to the scene near Aqua Verde Drive, just west of Loop 360 (Capital...
Pressure rises to pull parkland as options for MLS stadium in Austin
Pressure rises to pull parkland as options for MLS stadium in Austin

Momentum is building to remove Precourt Sports Ventures’ preferred city parkland sites for a Major League Soccer stadium from consideration by the Austin City Council. Kathie Tovo, a critical swing vote on the council in the soccer saga, told the American-Statesman on Tuesday night that Butler Shores Metropolitan Park and Roy Guerrero Metropolitan...
Exonerated man sues Williamson County for not disclosing evidence
Exonerated man sues Williamson County for not disclosing evidence

For more than two decades, Troy Mansfield was a registered sex offender for a crime he did not commit. And all that time, the prosecutors’ case file notes in the Williamson County district attorney’s office raised doubts about his guilt and pointed to evidence that could exonerate him. After he and his attorney discovered that evidence...
Cornyn takes lead on effort to craft a Senate immigration bill
Cornyn takes lead on effort to craft a Senate immigration bill

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said Tuesday he might want to borrow the Masai tribal “talking stick” that Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, used to ensure civility during pivotal negotiations that resulted in a short-term deal that ended the government shutdown Monday. Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, is riding herd over efforts to fashion a much...
More Stories