Turbulent Weather Creating Pothole Epidemic in Philly

Streets Department has already identified 500 potholes—with more to come.

Remember last week, when a “polar vortex” hit Philadelphia, and sent temperatures plunging to 3 degrees? Remember how the vortex went away, and by the weekend temperatures nearly hit 60 degrees? And then remember how it got cold again and started snowing today? Folks: That kind of weather is absolute hell on asphalt.

Which means, yes: Pothole season has begun in Philadelphia.

This picture, submitted to 311 on Wednesday, purports to show a big pothole in the 2100 block of Market.

The city’s Streets Department today said it had already identified 500 potholes during the first two weeks of the year. The department fixed 11,000 potholes in all of 2013, officials said: The current pace, if sustained, would increase that number to 13,000 in 2014.

But remember: Like forest fires, only you can help City Hall find and fix potholes. “Citizens can be our best inspectors,” Commissioner David Perri said in a press release. So how to report?

You can do it online.

• You can call the department’s customer service desk at 215-686-5560.

• Or you can call the city’s 311 helpline, or report problems via the 311 mobile app. What makes using the app fun? You can take pictures of the pothole and submit them with your complaint—the pothole at left, in the 2100 block of Market Street, was reported Wednesday to 311.

Officials ask that you be as specific as possible about the size, shape, and location of the pothole when reporting.