By Adrian Duyzer
Published February 08, 2013
A few weeks ago, Jason Leach wrote a blog post where he said that clearing the snow from sidewalks should be seen as important as clearing snow from roadways.
This is a massive public safety nightmare potentially facing the city. Someone is going to get killed or seriously injured. Dundurn Street already has crazy narrow sidewalks between King and Main, and now half the sidewalk is filled with the snowbank from the road.
I agree with Jason: this is a critical, and often-neglected issue, whenever there is a major snowstorm.
Fortunately, the City of Hamilton has an online complaint form you can use to submit a complaint when sidewalks aren't cleared within 24 hours of snowfall. And fortunately, the City's bylaw complaint department is fast and responsive - they just need help finding the issues that we're experiencing.
Unfortunately, the City's form doesn't remember your personal information, so it takes a long time to fill out each time. And it doesn't work well on mobile devices, either.
That's why I created Gavel, a mobile-optimized version of the complaint form that lets you save your information (in local storage on your device - no personal information is collected by me in the app) and easily submit it to the City's website.
Gavel isn't quite ready for prime-time: it doesn't work on Android devices at the moment, just on iOS devices. It's also not entirely rock solid and does suffer from a few issues from time to time. But with a snowfall this big, I just couldn't keep holding onto it. Besides, it's open source, written in Ruby using Sinatra. Get it working on Android and submit a pull request and I'll update the app right away!
Please let me know if you experience issues in the comments and I'll see what I can do to get it fixed up. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it makes the City safer for pedestrians.
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