Across the United States, streets are plagued with potholes. If you live in an area where potholes are a problem, you know what a pain they can be. In addition to being an eyesore, potholes can do serious damage to your vehicle, and also pose a safety hazard for both motorists and cyclists. That’s why people around the country have taken it upon themselves to do something about the pothole problem.
In Portland, Oregon, for example, a group of friends formed Portland Anarchist Road Care, a DIY organization dedicated to fixing the roads in their city. Members use a technique known as “cold patching” to fill the holes.
A particularly brutal winter in 2016–2017 left Portland with a backlog of more than 1,000 holes to fill. Although the city took steps to rectify the situation, even creating a “Patch-a-thon” in order to mobilize extra crews to fill the holes, the Anarchists felt the need to pick up the slack. Here they are in action:
“It is necessary to build the community networks that we envision for a post-revolutionary society,” members told City Lab. “When people ask anarchists, ‘Who will fix the roads?’ the answer is obvious: We will.”
In my hometown of Chicago, meanwhile, one artist tackling the pothole problem has taken the opportunity to simultaneously use his work as a beautification project. Jim Bachor has covered nearly 50 potholes with mosaics sunk in concrete, featuring designs of flowers, famous people and the Wrigley Field “W” logo:
Bachor, who plans to release a coffee table book of his work, says that people don’t bother him when he’s out doing his work.
“People really don’t care,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “I just look like a guy working too long fixing one pothole.”
Persin says he removed the plants after he finished shooting his video, but that it worked as a temporary fix and likely brought awareness to the issue. However, the Department of Transportation says people taking it upon themselves to fix potholes are part of the problem, not the solution.
“Aside from putting himself in harm’s way in the middle of roadways, his planting of trees and adding obstructions to the roadway is a danger to all road users, which poses safety hazards should drivers swerve to avoid them,” agency spokesman Scott Gastel told the New York Post.
Still, these “pothole vigilantes” just may be the heroes we need. What do you think? Are potholes a problem where you live?
[h/t: The Wall Street Journal]