Rockridge Potholes: An Informal Survey

Saturday, March 2, 2013

By the time her car had dropped bone jarringly into yet another pothole on a Rockridge street, Susan Shawl began to wonder just how bad the potholes were around her neighborhood. She had driven only a few blocks and was already concerned about the car’s suspension.

After returning home for paper, pencil and tape measure, she cruised nearby streets to record potholes and deteriorated paving. Her plan was to submit the list to the Public Works department for repairs.

In less than half-an-hour, she developed the following list of 28 potholes:

Claremont Avenue

Heading east from Clifton towards Hudson. Note: much of the traffic on this section is exiting Highway 24 and turning up Claremont Avenue. Many of the vehicles are trucks.

Location and size: 

  • 5418 Claremont: 3' x 2'; 1' x 2'; 1' x 6"
  • 5424 Claremont: 1' x 9"; 2 small ones; 1' x 2' x 3" deep; 3' x 4' x 3" deep; plus several along the white line between 4' to 6' long.
  • Claremont under the freeway at the FROG playground, 4' x 2'
  • Claremont under the freeway at the Dog Park, 4' x 2' x "shallow"; 4' x 2' x deeper; 1' x 1'; 4' x 1'; 3' x 2'; 6' x 1'; 8' x 3' x 3" deep; 1' x 2'.

Forest Street

Heading west from College Avenue

  • 316 Forest: 3' x 2'
  • Forest, between Shafter & Locksley (no house number): 4' x 5' and 3' x 3'
  • 497 Forest: 2' x 2' x 9" deep and 2' x 6"
  • 501 Forest: 3' x 3'

63rd Street, heading east from Hillegass towards College Avenue

  • 348 63rd St.: 2'-6" x 1'-6"
  • 344 63rd St.: 1' x 1' and 1' x 2'
  • 312 63rd St.: A small area is "sinking"
  • 307 63rd St.: 1' x 2' and a second one, also 1' x 2'

Susan then visited the Public Works website at to report her findings. Learning that only one problem site at a time could be reported and that each report asked seven questions, she compromised and sent in an e-mail list of her findings.

According to the website, another location to report public works issues is SeeClickFix, a Smartphone app that accepts non-emergency reports to Public Works on a variety of issues from graffiti to potholes to illegal dumping:

The reply to many posts on this site for street damage was, sadly, something of a refrain: “The City of Oakland Public Works Agency has received this issue. Thank you, in advance, for your patience as we work through a backlog of pothole service requests. Unfortunately the City does not have enough funding to repave all streets in poor condition. With limited funding, our response to resurfacing requests is limited to minor pavement and pothole repairs only. Our Street Maintenance Department will assess your street and determine whether temporary measures might be appropriate. Please understand that this work may be limited to pothole or other minor repairs, and that we have many similar requests. We will do our best to respond in a timely manner. The backlog of streets in Oakland needing pavement currently is $435 million and growing.”

In spite of the city’s disclaimer that nothing can be done, reports should be made to record the extent of the need and drive the city to make repairs before someone takes costly legal action.

— by Don Kinkead, with material developed by Susan Shawl