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Pothole LeadOver 15,000 dangerous road conditions like this crater of a pothole in the Presidio, have been repaired for smoother, safer bicycle routes with the help of the SFBC Good Roads Campaign.
By Constance Cavallas
Potholes and cracks are an annoyance to any road user who must pass over or around them, but for cyclists, quality road pavement is a necessity, first for safety, then comfort.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) introduced the Good Roads Campaign to smooth streets for bicyclists and to have bikeways recognized as essential transportation networks that require timely maintenance. The SFBC has been working closely with everyday bicycle riders, the Department of Public Works (DPW), and a group of dedicated Lane Steward volunteers to achieve quicker response to pothole reports and ensure a higher priority for repaving bike routes.
There are two simple ways for you to help with this campaign. The first way is to report potholes or any road surface hazard on your bike route to 311 by phone or online (see sfbike.org/goodroads for information). Within two weeks the pothole should be repaired, and you can ride over the fix with triumph!
Since the campaign’s launch in April 2008, more than 1,500 potholes have been repaired throughout all neighborhoods in San Francisco – an incredible success made possible by a small number of people.
The second way to get involved is the fun, monthly Good Roads Ride with the Lane Stewards, a small group of enthusiastic volunteers headed by SFBC member Michael Helquist, who visit a different neighborhood every first Saturday of the month to mark and report poor road conditions on popular bike routes to 311. Anyone can join these easy rides, and they are often followed with a fun stop for a beverage or lunch. “We’re an especially friendly group and always welcome new members,” says Helquist.
Most recently, the SFBC worked with the Department of Public Works to go beyond pothole repair and use patch paving – a more extensive operation that replaces large areas of asphalt – to smooth over 30 stretches of hazardous pavement on Market Street, where temporary pothole fixes do not hold up under the heavy use of this main street. Last December, Helquist and volunteers pedaled across the 50+ projects of the Bike Plan and noted the problem areas to ensure that repaving happened before the new bike lanes were striped. “What better way to christen a new bike lane than with a smooth, safe surface,” exclaims Helquist.
Join the Lane Stewards for the next phase of the Good Roads Campaign – sunken utility and manhole covers creating safety hazards for bicyclists, and a pavement audit of the complete Citywide Bike Network. Get involved at sfbike.org/goodroads.
Constance is a communications intern at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and an occasional Good Roads Ride rider.