Central New York, Government

Syracuse, a City of Potholes

By Jude Allume, Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) – For many people, driving in Syracuse is a bumpy ride to say the least. Potholes are a common sight in the city, with late winter and early spring even being considered “Pothole Season.”

During this past pothole season or from about February to April of this year, in Syracuse we saw more snowfall than normal. This past winter came with 153 inches of snow compared to the normal average of about 124 inches. There were also swings in temperature, with the most extreme example coming on Feb. 21 when the temperature reached 75 degrees, only to drop to 31 degrees accompanied with snowfall the next day on Feb. 22.

These weather conditions factor in to what causes these potholes. The temperature rises to over 40 degrees during the day, causing the snow to melt. At night, the temperature drops to below freezing and the water from the melted snow freezes in between the cracks in the road. With the heavy snowfall this past pothole season, the issue was made worse as more snow was added on to the mixture of snow and ice that was already on the ground and kept the cycle going on with the mix of snow, water and ice.

The mixture gets into the road and develops the cracks in the paved surfaces which eventually turn into the potholes. When water freezes, it expands and turns cracks into holes, and the reoccurring process turns these holes into potholes. As of June 22, there have been at least 3,112 potholes filled. That’s more than 64 percent of the potholes that were filled in all of 2017 and the effort is ongoing.

The problem with fixing potholes is that there is a large number of potholes to fix with a fixed amount of money to fix it. Syracuse has $3.5 million in its 2018 budget dedicated to road reconstruction. This is enough to pave only about 3.5 miles of road, just less than 1 percent of the total miles of road in the city.

In years past, complaints were a major determining factor for what areas would receive attention, with complaints still being used today. The amount of traffic on a street, is also taken into consideration as well as roads that are located near schools and hospitals.

To better combat the potholes in the city, however, Syracuse officials have turned to data analytics to decide what areas have potholes that need to be addressed with priority. Using Datacuse, Syracuse’s streets are examined to determine how many potholes there are and how bad the potholes are on the streets containing them, rating every city block on a scale of 1 to 10 with one being the worst rating.

Below is a list of the worst rated streets in the city. Outside of Ostrom place, which was the only street rated as a one, the list is in no particular order.

  • 100 block of Ostrom Place between Euclid Ave & dead end
  • 100 block of Alexander Avenue between Cortland Avenue & Martin Luther King Boulevard West
  • 100 block of Exchange Street between North Salina Street & Park Street
  • 100 block of Harrington Road between Meadowbrook Drive & Brookford Road
  • 100 block of Hubbell Avenue between Grandview Avenue & Bellevue Avenue
  • 100 block of Kane Road Emerson Avenue & Willis Avenue
  • 100 block of Landmark Place between South Townsend Street & dead end
  • 100 block of Palmer Lane between Barnes Avenue & dead end
  • 100 block of Nelson Street between West Fayette Street & West Marcellus Street
  • 100 block of North Crouse Avenue between Burnet Avenue & East Water Street
  • 100 Block of South Carbon Street between Butternut Street & Highland Street
  • 100 Block of Strand Place between Mary Street & Park Street
  • 200 block of Crescent Avenue between Hudson Street & dead end
  • 200 block of Croly Street between East Genesee Street & East Fayette Street
  • 200 block of Janet Drive between Hillcrest Road & dead end
  • 200 block of Oneida Street between Larned Street and West Adams Street
  • 200 block of Scottholm Terrace between Sunnyside Road & Scottholm Boulevard
  • 300 block of Highland Street between Douglas Street & Highland Avenue
  • 300 block of Hillview Avenue between Summit Avenue & Craddock Street
  • 300 block of Jasper Street between Oak Street & dead end
  • 400 block of Douglas Street between Graves Street & Oak Street
  • 400 block of East Colvin Street between Benedict Avenue & Garfield Avenue
  • 400 block of East Colvin Street between Berwyn Avenue & dead end
  • 500 block of Kirk Park Drive between West Lafayette Street & West Brighton Avenue
  • 500 block of Wendell Terrace between Grant Boulevard & Mertens Avenue
  • 700 block of Rugby Road between Hampshire Road & Sedgwick Drive
  • 1000 block of North Geddes Street between Pulaski Street & Van Rensselaer Street
  • 1200 block of Harrison Street between Comstock Avenue & Ostrom Avenue
  • 1600 block of Park Street between Bear Street & Court Street