Getting organized on pothole repair
Riding around Tucson or looking through the comments on this site, it’s clear there is a pothole problem in Tucson.
For cars, potholes are a nuisance, perhaps a costly one. But for cyclists, potholes can be dangerous, even deadly.
Stories abound on the internet of bicyclists and their families suing cities over bicycle crashes caused by potholes.
I wrote a while ago about steps to get potholes fixed and have pasted the results below. Andrew Greenhill the mayor’s chief of staff said the city places a priority on hazards that can cause injuries. I’m creating a new page on the site to highlight the potholes that have been reported via SeeClickFix.com. By highlighting them other Tucson Velo readers can vote to have the issue fixed, which is one of the metrics used to decide what holes to fill. Once we get a collection of holes listed, I’ll also send the page to the city to push for them to be repaired.
After you have reported the pothole, fill out the form on the pothole page. Check that page often to vote to have all the potholes that affect bicyclists.
1. Report it: The city offers several ways to report roadway issues.
• SeeClickFix.com: The first way to report the issue is to use SeeClickFix.com, a website the city partnered with a little over a year ago to make it easy for the public to report road issues.
You can report problems on their website, through a smartphone application which uses GPS and easily allows you to upload a photo. Lastly, SeeClickFix just launched a Facebook application, which allows you to report it on Facebook.
Greenhill said the city has received hundreds of reported issues through SeeClickFix.com since the city started working with the site.
He said when the city receives a report from SeeClickFix, it is entered into the software system the city uses to track maintenance issues.
• Pothole hotline: Greenhill said most people are still using the maintenance hotline to report street issues. The number is 520-791-3154
• Email: You can also email the transportation department with requests for street fixes. Here is the email: TDOTStreetsTrafficMaint@tucsonaz.gov
• Online bicycle spot improvement form: The city’s bicycle and pedestrian page has an online form, which allows cyclists to report road issues. The information submitted on the form is sent directly to Tom Thivener, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager. Thivener said via text message that he will forward the issue onto the appropriate department. He said it doesn’t get used much, but it does help keep him informed about where the issues are in the city.
2. Follow up: The squeaky wheel gets the oil
• Vote: SeeClickFix.com has a built-in feature that allows users to vote for issues they want to see repaired. Greenhill said a report is generated each time someone votes for an issue to repaired. The votes are something they take into account.
“The more people vote for a specific issue, the more the government should take that into consideration as they put together their work schedule,” he said.
But — Greenhill warns — because of the budget, highly traveled streets will always take precedent over residential streets which fewer people use.
Here is the list of bike-related issues and a few issues with bicycle as the keyword on SeeClickFix.com
• Call: If you’ve reported the issue but nothing has been done, the next step is to call the council member where the hazard is located. Download a ward map to find out who you should call based on the location of the issue.
Part of the hole was filled with asphalt.
Greenhill said it is important to make sure the council member’s office knows it is a public safety issue.
“If in fact the pothole causes any vehicle — whether it is a bike or a car — to veer out of its lane to avoid it, that is a public safety hazard and that should take priority with the city,” he said.
3. Do it yourself
While not expressly allowed by the city, some issues can easily be fixed by cyclists themselves. I’ve seen a rider pull out a pair of pruning shears to trim plants that were encroaching into the bike lane on Mountain Avenue.