As I was driving/giving myself a road massage down 6th Street NE the other day, I was wondering just how many potholes DC boasts these days, and who will repair them, and how fast. As if by artifice, this week (specifically, yesterday) Mayor Muriel Bowser launched DC’s yearly #Potholepalooza campaign. Honestly, the name alone gets me excited and makes me think that instead of seeing it as a dreary chore to pave over potholes, we should be having parties over the damaged road instead; after all, some of them are big enough to qualify as baby pools!
So, in addition to giving you the important information on how to comply with the city and get your potholes fixed –and we all know you are all raring to do that, and then clocking the service to see if they really fix your ‘hole in 48 hours or less*– I am here to reminisce. You see, I grew up in Bogota, Colombia, where it rains a little or a lot every day. That much rain alone tends to do a number on the roads; but it is Colombia, and while I am proud to hail from there, my patriotic pride does not blind me to the obvious infrastructural shortcomings of the place. Potholes did not get fixed in 48 hours or less: it was lucky if they were fixed in 48 months or more, and even then they were not fixed well enough, and the potholes grew. So instead of letting them continue destroying car transmissions and getting people down, communities would root for their potholes and measure them. A weekend variety show organized a contest to find the city’s worst potholes. There would be colorful neighbors straining to get their 15 minutes of fame in the background, and an “official” would hover dangerously over the crater and measure its width at the widest part as well as its depth. If its dimensions allowed it to wrest the crown from the previous week’s winner, the celebration was extensive. The best part of the celebration was that the winning pothole was filled, so it really was a win-win all around. It warms my heart to know that Bogota is now trying to keep track of potholes via Facebook so that users can create a photo map of problem areas, according to this segment from BBC World (warning: need to know Spanish to watch).
But back to DC, #Potholepalooza has nothing to do with ’90s bands serenading our worst streets (though there is a party idea for you), but everything to do with rapid action.
WHAT: #Potholepalooza, the yearly pothole-fixing extravaganza sponsored by the District of Columbia government. Rockin’ your free motorin’ since 2009. (You’re welcome.)
WHY: Have you driven around lately? It’s a mess!
WHEN: Officially kicked off on March 25th, #Potholepalooza will last until every hole is filled. Really. Actual quote from the site: “Target End Date: Until completed“
WHERE: That’s where you come in! You find the potholes and you can,
- Call 311 and report the pothole
- Report online at http://311.dc.gov/
- Email potholepalooza AT dc DOT gov
- Download and use the Pothole app by clicking here
- Tweet @DDOTDC, use the hashtag #Potholepalooza and send them winks and happy faces.
- Or find them on Facebook at Potholepalooza and tell them all about your pothole, in between watching cat videos.
- Track the progress of your favorites over on this map!
That’s it! Now go report potholes, but not before you brag about how big they are. Good, clean fun, I tell you.
*48 hours or less, but the District would like you to know that it’ll take more like 72.