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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

L.A. Gets Webby

Callie Schweitzer |
July 6, 2010 | 4:42 p.m. PDT


Creative Commons
Creative Commons
It's no secret that in this day and age you have to get with the Web or risk being left behind.

Here's a closer look at who and what around Los Angeles are taking the Web by storm and embracing all things technological.


1. Have the words "like" and "L.A. public transportation" ever been in the same sentence? They have now.

You can tell Metro how much you love L.A. public transportation and ride free for a year. Metro is sponsoring a 2-minute video contest for transit users to "take us along on your stress-free commute" or explain how public transit "makes any day better." The contest details look like Metro is interested in hiring a new marketing chief: "Entries will be judged on originality, believability, and how well they convince others to try transit."


2. Smartphones could help solve L.A.'s infrastructure problems.

See a pothole? Notice a streetlight that's out? Now you can do more than call 311. Los Angeles has a smartphone app that allows people to report "non-emergency problems" like "graffiti, potholes, illegal dumping" and trash directly from their phones. Users are asked to take a picture and submit a brief report on the issue. "Using GPS, the location and a description of the problem are sent directly to the City's 311 system. It even notifies the user when the problem is resolved." Awesome re: GPS. Skeptical re: receiving a follow up on the problem... 


3. L.A. County Supervisor wants you to dial 5-1-1.

A new way to get traffic updates online and by phone has debuted for making your way through SoCal's congested streets. Go511.com promises to be more than just a traffic dispatcher like Sigalert.com and Traffic.com by offering "information about ride-sharing, carpooling, bicycling and taking the bus or train." On his blog, Third District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky promotes the automated phone system, which can offer users services like "travel times between two freeways."

The funding for 511 will come from the L.A. County Service Authority for Freeway Emergencies for the next 10 years. The majority of this funding was previously used to support freeway callboxes. This sounds like a way overdue shift from pay phone to cell phone. Welcome to the 21st century, L.A. freeways!


4. L.A. City Councilman takes to the blogosphere--and succeeds. 

District 2 Councilmember Paul Krekorian proves his Web savvy with his "CD2 Policy" blog, which outshines any other councilmembers' attempt at a blog with its live blogs of committee meetings and images of council motions. The rest of the civil servants' websites could use a serious facelift and a word of advice about how to use the Web in 2010. 

Public Works

5. LeBron James isn't the only one embracing Twitter.

The L.A. County Surveyor is amping up its Twitter presence with "updates on Tract/Parcel Map recordations, proposed legislation/policy changes, and updated subdivision processing guidelines in Los Angeles County, including all 88 cities." Unclear who cares about L.A. parcel maps but Twitter followers include Second District L.A. County Supervisor @mridleythomas and Fourth District Supervisor @DonKnabe.  

To reach editor-in-chief Callie Schweitzer, click here.



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