Operation Pothole: A Mission We Hope You Accept

Have you ever gone for a ride, whether recreational or out of necessity, and found yourself stranded by the roadside contemplating calling someone to pick you up or attempting to replace an innertube (setting you back in both time and money)? Just last week, I hit a hole after a bus apron and had to haul my rig a mile-and-a-half home. Despite adding a bit of free-weight to the cardiovascular benefit of my ride, I think I’d prefer the predictability of reliable roads.

We here at the LADOT Bike Blog get that these issues can be of particular concern for the bicycling community, mainly because the issue of safety is elevated in an environment where you may be surrounded by cars. Compound this threat with wet weather (which can conceal potholes) or sub-optimal lighting at night and we have the potential for injury to both bicycles and bodies. As bicyclists, its up to us to aid in eliminating this danger.

Be Part of the Solution: Help us Fill Potholes

Fortunately, it’s Round 2 in the City for Operation Pothole and this effort is back with a vengeance. If any of you remember the goals in January, 50 road crews were unleashed on the streets of Los Angeles to repair between 10,000 and 15,000 potholes. Mayor Villaraigosa’s dedication to this task, and the work of the Bureau of Street Services (BSS), really got the ball moving. The ball got moving so well, in fact, that this time the Mayor plans on doubling the operation to 100 teams – increasing the goal to 20,000 filled potholes.

Mayor Villaraigosa, doing his part

The City can’t do it alone though. With 6500 miles of  streets, BSS needs people aware of potholes to report them.

How do you do this? It’s easy:

  1. Identify the location of the pothole by Address or Intersection
  2. Call 3-1-1 (Narrated by Mayor Villaraigosa, himself with music during the wait by the Los Angeles Philharmonic!) -or- Call BSS at (213) 473-4183
  3. Report online at  http://bss.lacity.org/request.htm

If you are calling, they will enter the request into the system between the hours of 7am and 4pm. After 4pm, someone will be available to take your request, but it will not be entered into the system until the next day. (Thank you to Daniella at 3-1-1 for helping with this information!)

In order to streamline the process, BSS has provided a neat visual guide for what qualifies as a pothole and what may be either cracking asphalt, a utility trench or pavement weathering. You can view BSS’s visual guide here. Differentiation matters because, while the City has the goal of a 24-hour turnaround time for your typical pothole, these other features of road-wear may take more time to remedy.

Do your part and make your requests! Your help can prevent injury or damage and its a vote for improving the quality of bicycle facilities in the city.  Any pothole-stories shared in comments will also be forwarded on to BSS.

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