Every time he goes home to Cleveland, Dylan MacDowell needs his car’s wheels realigned.
“It’s because my car is constantly being put through hell anywhere I drive in the (campus) community,” said MacDowell, director of student affairs for Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government and a third-year in English.
MacDowell lives off campus and said the reason he has needed to fix the wheels on his 2000 Infiniti twice in the past year was because of the amount of potholes that he hits off campus.
To deal with the problem, USG is working with various organizations to get students the resources they need to report the potholes to the Columbus Department of Public Service.
Ben Schulman, the head of the off-campus task force and the off-campus policy adviser for USG, said a lot of students don’t know to call 311, the extension line for the City of Columbus Service Center, or know about the 311 app and website.
“I think (potholes) are under-reported,” said Schulman, a fourth-year in hospitality management. “I think a lot of people just aren’t aware of the resources that are out there for them.”
Schulman’s task force is working with Buckeye Block Watch through Community Ambassadors and Neighborhood Services. These groups help off-campus students with resources, so Schulman is working with them to raise awareness on how to report potholes.
Rick Tilton, assistant director of public services for the City of Columbus, said students can help his crews find potholes by giving a specific address or a nearby landmark and by telling crews what lane the pothole is in.
Tilton said crews will fix the potholes within three days, except if there’s snow, rain, ice or extreme cold. He said the mixtures the crews use to fix the potholes won’t stick in these conditions. He added that when it’s actively snowing outside, the crews run into another problem: The same people who plow the streets fix the potholes.
The crews fixed 26,791 potholes from Nov. 1, 2014 to Wednesday, he said.
Celia Wright, USG president and a fourth-year in public health, said she thinks the city should prioritize the area around campus.
“We know that a community that has safe roads, good lighting (and) clean sidewalks attracts pedestrians and visitors and business,” Wright said. “If we want to be a climate that is conducive to business and prospering small communities, it’s important to take care of these small things and the maintenance of our streets.”
MacDowell agreed, and said he feels frustrated by how few potholes have been fixed.
“This is just the streets in general, and this is the city’s responsibility,” he said.