Broken street light? Get it fixed in a hurry this week with a text message.

Each street light has a number to help identify it.

Those buzzing orange or yellow street lights keep the stars hidden from view at night, but they also help keep people safe on the street and alleys. When they break, getting DC to fix them can be a real challenge, to put it mildly.

To help address that, the Mayor's office is pushing a "week-long effort to identify street light outages across the District," according to a press release sent out yesterday by the Mayor's office. Along with the street light initiative, they're also launching "Text to DC311" as a new way of reporting issues for repair. 

To report a broken street light, residents simply text the words “street light” to DC311 (32311). The system then asks a series of follow-up questions in order to get more information about the light. 

Kind of like the alleypalooza and potholepalooza, I guess this is a lightpolepalooza? Let's hope that after the palooza, the impetus to fix street lights stays strong with the city. Here's the press release:

If needed, look for the specific number on each pole.

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a week-long effort to identify street light outages in all eight wards of the District and launched Text to DC311. Immediately following the announcement, teams of District Government employees went into neighborhoods across all eight wards where residents have reported the most outages to take an inventory of broken street lights.

“We have 70,000 street lights in the District and too many of them do not work. By fixing street lights, we can make District streets safer, stronger and brighter,” said Mayor Bowser. “By launching Text to DC311, we are offering residents a more convenient way to report outages, as well as other issues. We know that everyone’s time is valuable, and we are doing everything we can to bring city services to your fingertips.”

Last year, Mayor Bowser introduced her Safer, Stronger DC plan, a comprehensive public safety agenda to combat violent crime in the District of Columbia. The initiative announced today is intended to support this plan. In her announcement, Mayor Bowser highlighted the importance of outdoor lighting in keeping streets safe. 
With the launch of Text to DC311, residents now have five ways to report city service issues and make requests to DC311. Residents can continue to report issues online at, through the DC311 mobile app, via Twitter, and to live agents at the 311 call center.
Still in the pilot stage, Text to DC311 currently accepts service requests for some of the District’s most popular issues like street light repairs, trash and bulk collection, and parking meter issues. To use Text to DC311, residents simply text DC311 or 3-2-3-1-1 from their mobile phones and type “Menu” or “New” to get started. In response, the system will provide a list of service request options. Residents trying to report an issue that is not on the featured list will be redirected to 311 Online.
In order to support the Mayor’s efforts to identify and fix street light outages, Text to DC311 has made it even easier to report a broken light. To report a broken street light, residents simply text the words “street light” to DC311 (32311). The system then asks a series of follow-up questions in order to get more information about the light. In the future, residents will be able to go online and see a map of reported street light outages and track the District’s progress in fixing the lights. 

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.

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