Potholes bloom in spring: Cracks are whack

Pothole Paradise: Cracks are whack

Call 311 or Tweet @311 to report a dangerous pothole in Toronto

By Claire McFarlane

The infamous Toronto potholes are one of the biggest issues facing cyclists this spring after a particularly gruelling winter. In fact, due to the huge temperature fluctuations we’ve seen over the past few months there's been more road damage than usual.

Public Works chairman Denzil Minnan-Wong announced earlier this week that the city would invest $30 million more into road repairs this year than what was spent in previous years since there we have double the amount of potholes on Toronto streets. According to an article published in the Toronto Sun, 120,000 potholes have already been repaired this year, yet we are constantly confronted with them on our daily commutes.


A Wellington Street 'well'.

And how did our polar vortex affect our roads?

Like most other substances, pavement contracts in the cold and expands in the heat, which causes cracks to form in roads. Water then seeps into those cracks and freezes when temperatures drop below zero.

Because water is one of the only substances that expands when it freezes, it can cause the pavement to be raised and creates a void between the different layers of the ground. The weight of a vehicle or cyclist can then cause for the raised pavement to collapse, which creates a pothole.


LOVING the new contraflow lane on Shaw, but this cyclist's dream is spiced with a few dashes of pothole seasoning along the way.

What can we do? Although calling 311 and saying: “Hi, um, I’d like to report a dangerous pothole,” may seem dorkier than socks with sandals, it could potentially prevent someone from getting seriously injured.

You can also tweet your request to have a pothole repaired (@311) or you can do so using their website.


This rough-looking sharrow is visual representation of the current state of cycling policy and infrastructure in our fair city.

When coming across a pothole or puddle (puddles can be extra dangerous because you usually can’t tell how deep they are or what lies beneath) be sure that you are travelling at a reasonable (slower) speed and that you do not lock your elbows to avoid wiping out and hurting yourself. You can always try to avoid any kind of road damage by riding around it, but make sure you shoulder check and are doing so safely without weaving suddenly into traffic.



If you're looking to escape the potcopalypse, cruise down the West Toronto RailPath (above), conspicuously pothole free. We cyclists tread lightly on our environment.


Related on the dandyBLOG:

Grate Expectations: Will City Act to Replace Unsafe Grates?

Bike Spotting: Urbane Cyclist and the proposed contraflow lane on Stephanie Street

dandyARCHIVE: Curb Your Enthusiasm – no snow clearance in bike lanes

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