The City of Fort Wayne's 311 Call Center is all about serving our citizens and making City government more efficient, accessible and responsive. I consider the 311 Call Center our city's hidden treasure! That's why it was so rewarding to see them get the recognition they truly deserve from an organization that monitors call centers throughout North America.
Our 311 Call Center recently earned 2nd place in a ranking of Top 100 small call centers in the United States and Canada, according to BenchmarkPortal. This marks the second consecutive year that Fort Wayne's call center has ranked in the Top 100 Small Call Center category -- which includes private and municipal centers staffed by less than 100 employees.
In February, 311 also received a 2012 Highly-Commended Customer Award for Best Citizen Experience from KANA Software.
Led by Julie Sanchez, director of Citizens Services, 311 includes a staff of eight full-time employees, who take calls and emails from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 311 serves as the main service center for answering general information questions about city programs, policies, activities and attractions. 311 call takers also receive and record phone or online requests from citizens and ensure that they are addressed or referred to the appropriate department for resolution. In 2012, the call center handled nearly 170,000 calls!
Our 311 staff is committed to providing the friendly, professional, helpful service that our residents expect when contacting their City government. In recent months, they have succeeded in providing quicker turnaround times and shorter wait times and have incorporated a performance-based model to better serve the public.
Please join me in congratulating our 311 staff for their recent awards and their high-quality, dedicated service.
On another note, I'm urging residents to take part in the Fort Wayne Bike Challenge and see if they can pedal more miles than other local riders. The Bike Challenge takes place throughout this month, in celebration of National Bike Month.
Our city has an outstanding biking community and wonderful trails! We want to encourage even more local residents to take advantage of the many benefits of cycling, such a promoting good health and reducing the use of gasoline and pollution.
To take part in the Fort Wayne Bike Challenge, log on to www.nationalbikechallenge.org and enter your zip code. Local organizers will monitor results and all miles entered for the month of May will count toward the final challenge. As some of you may know, Bike to Work Day is on Friday, May 17. From 6:30 to 8 a.m., cyclists are invited to stop by Headwaters Park West before heading into the office. There, they can enjoy free Starbucks coffee, bagels from the Bagel Station and treats from Pembroke Bakery. After work, cyclists can celebrate with food and drink at Fort Wayne Outfitters and the Bike Depot from 5 to 8 p.m.
Learn more about Bike Month events at http://www.cityoffortwayne.org/bfw-home.
On final note, you may have noticed that revitalization of our downtown continues. We recently took another step to make downtown more attractive for pedestrians by closing one of five traffic lanes on Clinton Street from Main to Berry streets. This closure will make way for a wider and slightly raised sidewalk that accommodates people with disabilities, provides a buffer to traffic, and is filled with landscape planters.
The developer of the Anthony Wayne Building, RCI Development, requested the closure and the request were approved by the Indiana Department of Transportation, with funding by the City Redevelopment Commission.
This is part of an initiative to help transform the way people enjoy downtown. We're making steady progress on creating an environment where people can enjoy walking and all our City has to offer.