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

1 man injured after shooting in Southeast Austin, officials say
1 man injured after shooting in Southeast Austin, officials say

Officers are currently searching for the perpetrator after a man was shot in Southeast Austin, police said.  The shooting was reported at 10:39 p.m. at Raleigh Circle and Lambs Lane. The man’s gunshot wound is not life-threatening, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said. Investigators believe the shooter and the victim knew each other,...
Texas oil and gas regulator: Science isn’t settled on global warming
Texas oil and gas regulator: Science isn’t settled on global warming

Contrary to widely held conclusions by scientists, a senior official in Texas’ oil and gas regulatory agency said Tuesday “we don’t know whether man-made greenhouse gases are impacting our climate in a harmful way.” Wayne Christian, a Republican elected in 2016 to the state Railroad Commission, which oversees oil and gas operations...
Abbott calls June 30 special election to replace disgraced congressman
Abbott calls June 30 special election to replace disgraced congressman

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday ordered an emergency special election for June 30 to elect a U.S. representative for a congressional district that stretches from Corpus Christi to Bastrop and Caldwell counties. The winner will serve out the remaining months of the two-year term of U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, who resigned in early April...
Man arrested after SWAT standoff at La Quinta Inn in North Austin

NORTH AUSTIN Man arrested after SWAT standoff at La Quinta Inn Austin police have arrested a man who had threatened to shoot anyone who approached him in a North Austin hotel bathroom. SWAT officers used pepper spray to force the man to leave the lobby bathroom at the La Quinta Inn and Suites near the Domain shopping center, police said. A police spokesman...
Jam session with Austin musicians leads to fatal stabbing conviction
Jam session with Austin musicians leads to fatal stabbing conviction

A chance meeting between two Austin musicians led to the violent death of one man and a felony conviction for the other. James Miller, a former Austin police employee who took up the guitar in retirement, was found guilty Tuesday of criminally negligent homicide in the September 2015 stabbing of saxophonist Daniel Spencer. The two had gathered to drink...
More Stories