In 2017, the United States Supreme Court counted 3,597 deaths due to pothole-related accidents. Even if the holes aren’t deep, they can cause significant damage. So it’s no wonder that residents become irate when their city doesn’t fill in these hazards.
When the city government doesn’t respond to road repair requests, what do you do? You can throw the pothole a birthday party. You can pose by it, pour cereal into it, or stuff a doll head inside of the hole. Yep, these are the lengths that people go to for someone to fill in potholes.
Sit In The Hole
In 2014, Jersey City resident Charlie Balcer got fed up with his neighborhood potholes. Taking matters into his own hands, he walked to one of the two potholes on Liberty Avenue and sat in it.
His wife, Yvonne Balcer, snapped a photo of her husband and put it on Facebook to encourage city officials to fix the holes. Since the start of the year, the Department of Public Works received a record number of requests to fill potholes: 1,257, to be exact. Fortunately for Balcer, the city filled both of his neighborhood potholes.
Anarchists Patch Up Potholes
In March of 2017, a group of masked individuals stormed the streets of Portland, Oregon. They weren’t protesting or breaking windows, but patching up potholes. The Portland Anarchist Road Care (PARC) group had had enough with the city’s major pothole problem.
Despite PARC repairing five potholes for them, the Portland Bureau of Transportation wasn’t amused. Their spokesperson even said that filling potholes “might be illegal.” In some states, local governments own the roads that need repairing. On top of that, filling potholes requires people to close the lane and create more traffic.
The Ducks Have Mobilized
In 2017, disgruntled residents in Steeple Aston, Oxfordshire, could no longer stand the city potholes disguised with rainwater. Parish councilor Matin Lipson donated over 100 rubber ducks to a group who dumped the army of banana-colored bath toys into the holes.
These residents accused the city council of “ducking the issue” and allowing these holes to endanger public safety. Potholes form from water seeping into the pavement and expanding through freezing, so ignoring potholes in times of heavy rain only increases their width and depth. Fortunately, the rubber ducks did bring these holes to the parish council’s attention.
Happy Birthday, Potholes!
In March of 2017, residents of Plumtree, Nottingham, celebrated their Main Road’s pothole’s second birthday. “I last complained back in September or October time last year,” said resident Vonnie Daykin. “And they came and said they weren’t bad enough to fix.”
So what did residents do? They gave the pothole a caterpillar cake for its birthday. When that didn’t immediately work, they celebrated with toy trucks and Bob the Builder. Finally, the city council agreed to fix the holes before they reached their third birthdays.
When Potholes Become A Photography Project
Montreal artists Davide Luciano and Claudia Ficca understood the challenge of potholes all too well. Instead of filling the road hazards themselves, they put in a lot more effort by transforming the holes into art projects. In Montreal, New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles, they captured hilarious pothole photography.
From a lifeguard running to save a drowning pothole swimmer, to an ice cream shop employee scooping dessert out of a street hole, to conducting baptism in one, Luciano and Ficca’s pothole photos have no limits. Whether or not their artworks encouraged construction is unknown.
Ah, A Perfect Pool For A Model Photoshoot
What draws peoples’ attention more than a hot girl in a bathing suit? Russian model Anna Moskvichova used her career to save her hometown of Saratov from their egregious pothole problem. Dragging an inflatable flamingo to the flooded crater, she posed on the unusual modeling set.
Saratov became notorious for its wide, gaping potholes. Moskvichova said that she had to carry her kids across the pool on their way to school. After her photos went viral, other citizens protested by posing on kayaks or pool toys in the potholes. Their potholes were finally repaired.
This Pothole Is Possessed
Imagine driving down the scenic roads of Swindon in southwest England, only to find creepy doll heads emerging from the concrete. This is how Neville Daytona decided to fill potholes along Mill Lane. Every doll head stands around six inches tall and its cemented in place by heavy rocks.
Daytona decided to take noticeable action because the potholes “got worse” after the council supposedly fixed them. More than once, someone has stolen the pawn-shopped doll heads, so Daytona replaced each one with another “Lady of Holes.” After people started laughing at the dolls, Highways England agreed to patch the holes.
Plant Pansies In The Potholes
In 2015, a series of storms battered Schenectady, New York, and littered the city with potholes. While several residents filled in potholes the proper way, Elaine Santore packed the holes with dirt and planted flowers in them.
Santore told The Daily Gazette that she wanted to make people smile after “a horrible winter.” Her adorable solution worked: After a couple of days, all ten of her planted potholes were officially filled in. Although it doesn’t look as pretty, Santore still got her point across. “I knew something would happen to them,” she admitted.
Transform Potholes Into Themed Gardens
Some people replace asphalt mixture with plant soil to create pothole gardens. East London gardener Steve Wheen takes this concept to another level by crafting miniature rooms including tiny plants, phone booths, couches, and even a tiny crochet basket.
“The pictures and gardens are supposed to put smiles on peoples’ faces,” Wheen said, “and alert them to potholes!” He added that most of his gardens only lasted for a couple of hours before being destroyed by oncoming traffic. Ever since he started guerrilla pothole gardening, international artists have joined in as well.
You Can’t Miss A Tree
In January of 2019, residents in Boulder Creek, California faced two problems: one was their still unfixed potholes, and the other came with extra Christmas trees. So how did they kill two birds with one stone? They planted trees in the city’s potholes.
Residents even wrapped the trees in Christmas lights to make them more noticeable to drivers. Not only do the trees alert drivers of upcoming holes, but they also protest the government’s inactivity regarding road repairs. Since the Christmas trees have no roots, they won’t harm the concrete any further.
Turn The Street Hole Into A Jacuzzi
A man in Trinidad and Tobago got fed up with the pothole right outside his home. So what did he do? He donned his swimsuit and used the pothole as his personal jacuzzi. After posting his activity online in January 2018, the Water and Sewage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (WASA) received ten days full of phone calls about that hole.
The man, only known as Ken, wasn’t the only person fed up with WASA. The organization had a reputation for digging up roads for construction and not refilling them, which residents called “official potholes.” Thanks to Ken, they fixed this one.
Celebrate The Pothole’s One Year Mark
In 2015, Mississippi resident Eddie Prosser reported some potholes on his street. After a year of inactivity, he threw the most sarcastic birthday party imaginable. He put out a sign with a birthday balloon that said, “Happy Birthday, Pothole! I have been here over a year! My 2 little brother potholes, too! 311 calls about us started on February 2015.”
Once Prosser’s sign made headlines, workers finally stuffed the holes…with dirt. “We were like, ‘Woo! Way to go!'” a resident told WPXI. “Then on the way home from church, we were like, ‘You’re kidding, right? It’s just dirt.'”
Need A Pothole Filled? Call Colonel Sanders
In 2009, KFC engaged in a unique cause-marketing push. Because city budgets were tight across Kentucky, KFC decided to pave potholes in the city of Louisville. In exchange, they got to stamp every repaved spot with a chalk stencil that said, “Re-freshed by KFC.”
Kentucky’s wild weather changes create some of the worst road conditions in the country. Precipitation combined with immediate freezing generates the perfect recipe for potholes. In the state, AAA has to repair around 30 million vehicles a year from potholes, each costing between $250-$1,000. KFC’s help was much appreciated.
Call Out Government Officials By Drawing Their Face On The Street
Anna Moskvichova wasn’t the Saratov resident who couldn’t handle the potholes anymore. Caricature graffiti artist Vikenty Belikov drew a portrait of governor Valery Radayev using his mouth as a pothole. Belikov claimed that he was apolitical, and someone paid him 10,000 roubles to draw the governor.
In response, authorities tried to clean it, which didn’t work. They later painted over the artwork, but didn’t fill in the pothole. A week later, a municipal truck plunged its front wheel into the pothole. Authorities then filled it in.
Pave For Pizza
Domino’s will replace a customer’s pizza if their delivery person’s car has been damaged along the way. However, they prefer not to pay those fees, and the pothole issue across the country has frustrated the pizza chain enough to pave roads themselves.
In 2018, Domino’s launched their campaign “Paving for Pizza”,” where they fixed over 50 potholes in one day across California, Delaware, Georgia, and Texas. After they fill the holes, they place a stencil down that says “Paving for Pizza” or “Oh yes we did.” The program is still ongoing and has received a lot of praise.
Men Sell Provocative Calendars To Fund Road Repair
Canadian residents in the small town of Leader, Saskatchewan, decided upon an unusual but eye-catching form of protest. The men posed nude on some of the worst potholes in the city–sometimes on canoes, other times lined up with a conveniently-placed camera.
Town officials claimed that they couldn’t afford to fix their roads. To mobilize a road work crew, the city would have to pay upwards of $200 per hole. So, the protesters crafted a new technique. They printed their photos as calendars and sold 3,000 copies for $20 each, raising enough money to fix the roads.
What Started As A Pothole Evolved Into A Movement
In summer of 2015, a group of friends from Hamtramck, Michigan decided to fill a few of the city’s annoying potholes themselves. First, the friends received some media coverage. Then, they got thousands of dollars in donations.
Five weeks later, over a dozen volunteers laid down 36 tons of cold patch using the $4,410 dollars donated to the cause. Suddenly, the original friends saw memes about their movement, an NPR episode on it, and a state senator visit. When mayor Karen Majewski gave them the go-ahead, more volunteers showed up and barbecued for the pothole crew.
Twelve-Year-Old Does What The Government Can’t Do
In 2019, Monte Scott of Muskegon Heights, Michigan, took the government’s responsibility upon himself. The twelve-year-old dragged a garbage can full of dirt into the street and filled at least 15 potholes near his family’s home.
His family posted a video of his actions to Facebook, and it quickly went viral. “I didn’t want people messing up their cars like my mom did,” Scott told WZZM. Michigan residents were thrilled. According to a 2018 study by the HD map app, Payver, Michigan has the worst quality roads in the United States.
The Doctor Of Roads
In Hyderabad, India, a retired railway engineer named Gangadhara Tilak Katnam drove into a pothole and splashed muddy water on a group of schoolchildren. While most people would have forgotten about the incident, Katnam bought six trucks, hired two laborers, and retrieved road fixing material to fill over 60 potholes.
Now, Katnam uses his pension to fix the roads. People appreciate his efforts so much that civic authorities began giving him road repair supplies for free. Over six years, Katnam and several volunteers have filled 1,244 potholes. The residents know him as “the doctor of roads.”
The City Council Can Only Afford Coco Pops
At first glance, a Scottish online video of a road worker might look real. Of course, it’s not. Aa couple of guys in East Ayrshire decided to poke fun at how the city council handled potholes.
In the video, a man in a road worker uniform pours Coco Pops cereal into a pothole. When the person behind the camera asks him about it, he said, “Well, we got £6 million budget, that’s all there is. It’s a cheaper alternative.” Of course, he poured a full gallon of milk while shouting, “I’m just following orders!”