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Arlington's mobile help app receives over 30,000 requests a year. Here are the most common requests

A red "no parking" sign sits on a grassy patch of land with two trees in the background and houses.
Kailey Broussard
Arlington residents can ask for street signs, report code compliance issues or ask questions using the city's Ask Arlington app.

The UT Arlington student organization Walkable Arlington regularly works with the university and city planners on long-term goals for making the city friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists.

However, organization leaders wanted to show people a faster way to point out issues through the city’s Ask Arlington app.

“We also wanted students to know, community members to know that you don’t have to organize these huge things or wait for somebody else to come in to point out where the issues are and how to fix them,” said Anna Laura Harmjanz, Walkable Arlington president.

The group recently combined a general meeting with a walk where students reported issues along Mesquite Street and its intersection with Mitchell Street. The walk from student housing at Liv+ Arlington to campus and downtown does not have consistent sidewalks or sufficient accommodations for cyclists, Harmjanz said.

Among the issues reported were cars parked along Mesquite Street in a no-parking zone, Harmjanz said. Days after the event, the city notified the group that they would install a “no parking” sign along the street.

“It was really good how fast the city of Arlington was getting back to us,” Harmjanz said.

Ask Arlington received over 33,000 reports in 2023, according to request logs. The most common requests come from people searching for utility lines and people reporting overgrown weeds, unkempt property and nuisance vehicles.

Gil Mesa, the city’s Action Center manager, said the amount of requests is on trend with previous years.

The city launched the app in 2015 to replace an outdated “Citizen action request form.” The city would receive 11,000 form submissions on a busy year, and the city wanted a way to help with the volume of calls the city received.

“What happened instead is that it just opened up another media channel for people who normally wouldn’t call in,” Mesa said.

While the annual amount of submissions has tripled, Mesa said Ask Arlington has made the Action Center’s job easier.

“What that does is that it frees up our staff for those more cumbersome, complex types of service requests that will come in on our phone line,” Mesa said.

Changes coming to app

The city will replace Ask Arlington later this month or in early April, Mesa said. He compared the change to replacing an old car.

“The other car that you just had, you know, it had air conditioning and it had power windows, maybe. Well, this one still has air conditioning, this has power windows, but it’s going to look slightly different because it’s a newer model,” he said.

Arlington City Council in August approved a three-year, $261,615 agreement to purchase the reporting tool ONEVIEW Enterprise Citizen Relationship Management. Support for the current Ask Arlington mobile app and website is being discontinued by its vendor, according to city documents.

Mesa said the city would have more information later in the month, but the app should look and feel similar.

“There are going to be some changes. Some may be subtle, some not so subtle, but the actuall bones of it, the skeleton is still the same,” he said.

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Kailey Broussard is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). Broussard covers the city of Arlington, with a focus on local and county government accountability.