Calling for Repairs

This timely post was written by our favorite occasional writer, Robert Leone of the Knickerbikers, San Diego’s Bicycle Touring Club and board member at the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

You can find rough pavement anywhere. Still, folks who’ve experienced the high proportion of bad road within the boundaries of the City of San Diego, whether as motorists, bicycle riders, or pedestrians, would not be surprised to learn that municipality has underspent its street maintenance by about a third of a billion dollars. Given that, you might be discouraged about calling for repairs or fixes to bad, even dangerous situations.

Don’t be discouraged. Drop the dime! First off, the squeeky wheels do get the grease. Or, better yet, the slurry seal. Second, while general repairs to a broad and long expanse of road may be slow in coming, City of San Diego traffic engineers do respond much more rapidly to reports of individual acute potholes and fissures. There are liability issues involved, especially if a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer can show City of San Diego staff and planners knew about a dangerous situation. Believe me, if you find a pothole whose depth you can measure in seconds of hang time, and which is showing exposed dirt, your accurate description of the size and location is likely to bring some action.

The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition has a list of phone numbers, and some web links, for many of San Diego’s municipalities on its resources page.

Rose Canyon Bike Path Bypass - May 23, 2011

Some problem spots take a bit of sleuthing. The picture to the right shows a May 23, 2011 picture of a bike and pedestrian bypass along the Rose Canyon Bike Path. Notice how narrow it is. Also notice that it’s dirt, and not smoothed out dirt at that. It was not immediately obvious whom would be responsible for the construction at this point. It took some investigation, starting with a drilling subcontractor, then the general contractor for a utility pole project, before I, the interim Executive Director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, and some city staff directly interested in cycling and the Rose Canyon open space area, got in touch with the parties who’d imagined this narrow, rough corridor would be fine for two way mixed bike and pedestrian traffic.


Rose Canyon Bypass - June 2011




The upshot from all the phoning, emailing, and welcome input from busy but knowledgeable civil engineers who’d witnessed first hand the relatively high volume of cyclists along this vital north-south link between Pacific Beach and UCSD is pictured to the right. The new version of this same path is much wider, it is nicely paved, and the handlebar-entangling fencing has been taken down. Now all it needs is a lane striping and fog lines!


One further note: Please don’t hesitate to call about some road or street problem you witness even if it doesn’t directly affect you. In fact, please call if it’s not even a road problem in and of itself — the streets aren’t the only part of the City of San Diego’s infrastructure that’s been neglected for decades. The runoff from a strom drain you spot and report on a sunny day may cause thousands of dollars in damages and fines from regulators if not reported promptly.

Text and photos by Robert Leone