Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SFBC Reports, Gets Repaired NOPA Sinkhole

Emerging sinkhole on Golden Gate between Masonic and Central

17th & Dolores Streets,
before the patch paving of crosswalk

What started as a smooth but deep dip in the pavement along Golden Gate Avenue became a crumbling crevice and a real hazard to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists earlier this month. Fortunately, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's (SFBC) Good Roads volunteers were spinning through NOPA on their first-Saturday-of-the-month ride December 5th. The group of eight stopped, circled the emerging sinkhole with white spray paint to alert others of the defect, noted the nearby address, and later reported it to 311. Within days, a work crew from the Department of Public Works (DPW) repaired the hole and smoothed the surface. The "pothole intervention" is one way that SFBC and bicycle advocates work to improve city streets for all users.

In operation for nearly two years, the Good Roads campaign has turned in more than 1500 potholes, cracks, and sunken manholes found on city streets, especially along bike routes. The SFBC has developed a good working relationship with DPW, and together they manage to make much of the city's bike network safer and smoother for cyclists. While many streets in the city require complete resurfacing for safe use by cyclists and motorists, the pothole repairs take care of immediate problems.

Neal Patel, SFBC Community Planner, notes that Good Roads volunteers help the city do what it lacks the manpower for -- being "eyes on the street" to identify pavement problems needing repair. "We bring a small group of people together to identify a large number of hazards in a short period of time in one geographic area," Patel said.

The Good Roads Campaign benefits more than bicyclists. During their monthly excursions, the riders also report damaged crosswalks, missing utility covers in the streets and sidewalks, and gaping holes in lanes of traffic. For example, the SFBC volunteers requested advanced re-paving for two blocks of 17th near Potrero due to excessive pavement cracking, wide patch-paving for the Dolores Street crosswalk at 17th Street in the Mission, and replacement of missing manhole covers on Palou Avenue in the Bayview.

The Good Roads Ride is open to bicyclists who want to make San Francisco safer for everyone. Volunteers visit a different neighborhood every ride, and first-timers are always welcome. Check the SFBC Good Roads site or contact neal@sfbike.org for more information. The next ride is Saturday, Jan. 9th -- delaying by a week the usual first Saturday ride for those recovering from the holidays.

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