We were walking across the street and saw something we had never seen in Switzerland: A pothole. By Boston standards, it was more a divot than anything else, but technically, it was a pothole. The whole family oohed and ahhed at the novelty of it.
The next day, we were crossing the same street and Adam pointed out: “Daddy, the pothole is gone!”
The Swiss seem to monitor every aspect of their road system. An alarm must have gone off in central headquarters, triggered by in-pavement sensors, overhead video, street-side thermal imaging and satellite topographical analysis. And the PHERT (Pot Hole Emergency Response Team) must have been immediately dispatched.
For contrast, here is a quote from a Boston Globe article about potholes in and around New England: “My advice to people is, if you see a bunch of hubcaps sitting by the side of the road, slow down and be really careful,” said Chris Oxner, mechanical quality assurance coordinator at Sullivan Tire.
In Boston, it is taken for granted that potholes are inevitable. Talk doesn’t focus on how they should be fixed faster, but rather how to live with them. In fact, on the residential streets in Brookline, people rationalize the potholes’ existence as positive in that they act as speed bumps to make the neighborhood safer.
Come on, Boston, wake up and smell the new pavement. Demand your own B(oston)PHERT!