"AlertMadison is one important piece in a comprehensive strategy to improve the efficiency of our citywide response to snow events." That's Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, quoted in an official press release issued Thursday afternoon to trumpet the launch of the new initiative. But it has the potential to do even more.
Using Wireless Emergency Notification System technology developed by Inspiron Logistics, Alert Madison's text-messaging service will allow authorized [ersonnel to send out snow-emergency bulletins, Madison Metro bus-detour advisories and other useful notifications to cell-phone subscribers who create an account at My City of Madison and register to become Alert Madisonians.
They oughta sell T-shirts.
"You may receive several AlertMadison text message notifications on your cell phone," reads the program's FAQ. "Read these messages promptly and follow the instructions. Additional notification may follow so keep your cell phone near you... After a message is sent, go to the additional information on the applicable City home page." This suggests the possibility of a Hyper-Alert Madison.
The AlertMadison announcement notes that subscribers can also sign up for email bulletins. The city has also added a seasonal page to its website at www.cityofmadison.com/winter. The object of all these initiatives is to improve compliance with the city's winter parking regulations and facilitate improved snow-plowing efficiencies. Not to mention reduce the rate of inattentiveness.
AlertMadison users are advised that depending on the terms of their cell-phone contracts, they may incur charges for receiving these text messages and are responsible for paying them: The City of Madison disavows any responsibility or liability for these charges. On the other hand, staying apprised of snow-emergency declarations can save you even more money this winter than it did last winter -- the Best Winter Ever! Municipal parking violations in Madison's Snow Emergency Zone have doubled to $60 this year, and in the Alernate Side Parking Zone, the $20 parking violation triples to $60 during a Declared Snow Emergency. So there.
AlertMadison subscribers can unsubscribe at any time on up to three days' notice, the website assures, though why anyone would sign up to be more alert and then decide they'd rather be less alert is imponderable.