Dec 10, 2021 - News

Report: Austinites don't complain that much

Austin 311 service requests, by zip code
Data: City of Austin; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

Austinites evidently feel they have some of the quietest big city neighborhoods in the nation.

Driving the news: But don't get them started on illegal parking ot dogs left in vehicles, per a new analysis of 311 calls lodged with the city.

Austinites aren't big complainers, with the equivalent of only 0.17 aired grievances per resident to report community issues, per an analysis of 10 U.S. cities by StorageCafé, a self-storage search website.

  • Chicagoans, by comparison, are either a bunch of bellyachers or have a lot to grumble about: They logged 0.39 complaints per resident in 2020.

What bugs Austinites most? Our top peeve is traffic — about 30% of the requests made last year included illegal parking or excessive speed.

  • 24% — the biggest among the cities analyzed — addressed animal-related concerns, such as loose dogs or pups left in vehicles.
  • About 13% of the 311 complaints address trash pickup and sanitation.
  • We're also particular about our green space — 6% of the complaints were made in relation to parks and other recreational areas.

On the other hand: It appears that noise is not much of a problem in Austin — barely 1.9% of the complaints related to excessive noise.

  • Austin's 311 service handled on average more than 430 calls a day last year, offering support for complaints related to more than 100 topics, and calls peaked in July with 14,819 complaints.
  • Within the city, the highest rate of calls to 311 came from downtown Austin, at 0.89 per resident
    • And not surprisingly, noise issues made up 10.5% of downtown Austin complaints, far higher than in the rest of the city.

Of note: The makeup of 311 calls in Austin is changing, as Austin officials now encourage people to avoid calling 911 unless someone's safety or property is immediately threatened.

  • Citing "recent staffing challenges" within the Austin Police Department, then-interim Chief Joseph Chacon in September encouraged people to report non-emergency incidents, such as attempted burglary no longer in process, to 311 or for a follow-up by police.

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