Pot-Holier than thou
We’ve all been there, swerving to avoid a looming pothole, slowing down to creep over deteriorating pavement or places where the road has buckled. The condition of our county roads is atrocious, there’s no other word for it. Once you turn off of Warm Springs Road, Bennett Valley Road, or the recently-paved portions of Arnold Drive, it’s an obstacle course. Someone unfamiliar with the area would assume you are driving impaired as you veer back and forth, trying to find smooth pavement. Unless a road is a main artery, it’s rarely a top priority for the county. The County Transportation and Public Works Department (TPW) periodically fills the potholes, but it never lasts long because underneath the asphalt there’s nothing but dirt and rocks. Some of our shorter county roads are probably going to revert back to gravel unless California miraculously gets billions of dollars of Federal funds. You think that will happen?
Sonoma County has 1,379 miles of roads, many in the unincorporated areas (hello Kenwood and Glen Ellen). For 2017, the plan approved by the Board of Supervisors for the county’s Pavement Preservation Program covers just 97 miles of roads, none of which are in our area, at a cost of $21,880,000.
Where we live, there are so many potholes we’ve given them names – The Car Mechanic’s Dream, Pot-Holy Roller, Big (Tire) Buster, The Widow Maker. Seriously, they look as if they might swallow you up. Someone on Sonoma Mountain Road has thoughtfully outlined the potholes with fluorescent pink paint. We worry about bicyclists heading downhill toward an uncertain future. Please, everyone, let’s be careful out there!
Maybe we should follow the example of that wag in Manchester, England, who painted obscene images around the potholes there – we’ll leave it to your imagination. You can bet that the city quickly came out and fixed the problem.
We have a Prius and we’re thinking of putting some big truck tires on it. There’s an example of one on Pinterest – type in “Pimp My Prius.” It will probably cut down on our miles-per-gallon, but at least we’ll be able to get home at night – that is unless a sink hole opens up, which happened on Keiser Road. TPW did pay attention to that one and came out the same day to put big metal plates across the hole in the road.
Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. We recommend reporting large potholes and other hazardous conditions to TPW, and get your neighbors to do the same. Use the new SoCo Report It app, which lets you not only report problems, but also upload pictures. Maybe if they see you looking up from the bottom of a giant hole in the road they’ll “get the picture.”
Good luck, fellow travelers!