image of leaf buds on tree branches

Spring is here!

Throughout the pandemic, spring has taken on a new sense of significance. It has always been about renewal. Now it seems to bring renewed hope and optimism with the warmth in the air, the buds on trees and the shoots of new growth in gardens. This is Ottawa, so it also brings new potholes.

We are fortunate to live in Riverview Park, a community with established trees and green spaces where we have the opportunity to experience the new growth of spring. One of the other things we have as an older neighbourhood is older roads and sidewalks. In many parts of the community, we have no sidewalks so pedestrians have to walk on the roads. Every spring we are reminded that our infrastructure is aging. We see (and feel) the impacts that the freezing and thawing of winter has had.

image of numerous potholes on the street

Potholes abound!

We feel potholes when we hit them when driving or cycling and we see them when walking around the neighbourhood. For drivers, hitting a pothole can result in significant damage to your vehicle. For cyclists, hitting a pothole can result in a crash, broken spokes, bent wheels and abrasions. For pedestrians, we get splashed by cars driving through the water-filled potholes. We wade through some and try to avoid tripping in them. For people using mobility devices, road conditions and damaged sidewalks can result in very bumpy rides, damaged equipment, crashes and sometimes just getting stuck.

Saying good bye to potholes

The good news is that we can take control of the situation and get the damages of winter fixed. It is especially easy for those walking around the neighbourhood. The City of Ottawa has made it relatively easy to submit reports about road maintenance and a host of other issues through the City of Ottawa app.

City of Ottawa App

With the City of Ottawa app on your phone you can file reports about potholes, cracked sidewalks, people keeping tigers in their backyard, order new or replacement recycling or compost bins, file noise complaints, report diseased trees or giant hogweed plants. You can also report any of these things, and more by calling 311.

Reporting a pothole

image of City of Ottawa app home page

After you install the app on your phone you can then click on the report an issue button. This will then give you a menu of options to choose from. Select “Road Maintenance” and then select “pothole on the road.” You can also report broken sidewalks, etc. in this section. You will then be asked to provide details and location of the issue as well as your contact information. You can also include a photo of the damaged infrastructure.

Sometimes there are sections of roads with many cracks potholes. In these cases you can specify in the description the road segment that needs repairs. For example you can report numerous potholes and cracks on Cluny from Alta Vista to Lennox Park. The more information you provide, the more likely that City crews will address the whole issue. The app gives the option of selecting current location when reporting the problem. This doesn’t always work and can result in a failed report or the app freezing up. It is often better to type in the address of the closest house or building.

Once you have submitted your issue (be patient as the app processes your report), you will receive a confirmation message and number. Then you will be able to track the resolution of your reports through the app.

image of City of Ottawa app report confirmation screen

Getting it done

There are hundreds of us out walking around our community and city every day. City repair crews only know where there are issues to be addressed if we report those issues. Working together we can improve the state of our infrastructure and get repairs made. Reporting these issues also gives the city a better picture of the state of our roads and sidewalks.This could help lead to more significant infrastructure work. In some cases, such as Place Lycée and Frobisher Lane, the city has opted to shave and repave the whole of both streets due to the level of deterioration. For updates on these and other infrastructure projects in the community, please visit the planning and development page.

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