I didn’t used to have to drive much when I was unemployed, but now that I have a job and have to hop in my car every day I’ve realized something that I haven’t in quite a while. The Streets of San Francisco pretty much suck. The street outside my house hasn’t been redone in over 30 years. While I am seeing streets being repaved all over the city for some reason my street seems to be at the bottom of the list.
My wife and I were watching a TV show a couple of months ago about technology and how there’s a machine that can drive down a street and grind up the old asphalt and mix it in with a little bit of new asphalt and lay down the new street very quickly. I’ve seen these machines at work in the city and they can redo a block in a day or two. I’m sure they’re a bit costly, but compared to a group of 10-15 guys working for two weeks to do the same thing they probably pay off much quicker.
Every rainy season we have in SF we start to see cracks in the street that get bigger and turn into potholes. The only places I’ve ever been where the streets are marginally worse is New York City. Driving in your car gets thrown around just like my drive into work everyday. I need to have my wheels realigned on my car at least once if not twice a year because of all the potholes and uneven surfaces. This reminded me of my first trip back East to visit my wife before we were married. They have to deal with snow and the salt they put on the roads so that’s a lot more hard on the roads than what we have out here and they have to replace the roads more often. Driving back East in Massachusetts and Connecticut was like driving on glass. The roads were so smooth and the car just hugged the road like were driving on a LeMan’s race track. It was beautiful.
I know San Francisco has a lot of other things to deal with than the roads and they are replacing the roads quite a bit lately. They just seem to not be using those new machines that make the change come about faster as much as they could. It has been worse I’ll give you that. I remember a drive downtown where there was a large pothole that I didn’t see until it was too late to avoid and when I hit it the pothole actually shifted my car from drive into neutral. That’s not right. Most of the work is down is patchwork and I remember when I was first learning to drive how there was a strip jutting out from the parking space in front of my house that if I could back up just enough to hit the little hump I knew my car was in the right space. I’ve got a driveway now to park in and I shouldn’t have to think about the street humps [not speed humps as they call them now] to know how to park. Yes, as I said earlier there are a lot of other things that need help in the city, but if you have to drive in the city your car gets more wear and tear than it needs to.