Common Tread

How to fix a pothole with nothing but paint

Jun 11, 2015

Have a nasty pothole, bump, or otherwise dangerous road hazard in the pavement outside your house or on your favorite road?

One man was tired of all of the nasty potholes surrounding the area of Greater Manchester, England, and decided to do something about it. Britain's road quality in major metropolitan areas rivals the obstacle course we call a road system here in Los Angeles, and their public works system is equally inefficient. To solve this problem, he came up with a brilliant scheme to both call attention to the issue and to get the public works system a little more motivated to solve the problem — he started spray painting penises on potholes.

I know, it seems a little juvenile. Ha, ha, funny, funny — there's a dick. The thing is, we all have roads where we ride over a pothole or hit a bump and it infuriates us, only to leave our minds 45 seconds later. By painting phallic symbols on these issues, Wanksy (a nice nod to England's famous street artist Banksy) has both created something people will remember, talk about, possibly call in to report, and something that the public works system will want to cover more quickly.

See! It really works! Wanksy photo.

This reminds me of an episode of The League, in which Ruxin paints a similarly offensive, anti-Semitic symbol on a pothole at the end of his driveway and is somehow caught in the act on Google Earth. The whole scenario was one of the most cleverly set-up mishap of events I've seen on TV in a long time, and it still makes me laugh — which only proves how effective an idea as clever as this can be.

I'm not encouraging anyone to do something dangerous or illegal, but I wouldn't be upset if someone painted a giant phallic symbol over the entire length of Piuma Road or that bump heading downhill in the main turn on the Snake that keeps making YouTube stars out of poor squids. Or maybe on the tar snakes that turn Glendora Mountain Road into a Slip N Slide all summer.

If it helps lessen the offensiveness (for those of you who, unlike me, don't find this hilarious), Wanksy uses non-permanent paint that washes away after a week or so, which actually made me like the story a little less. Apparently, the tactics are working, though, and Wanksy told BBC Newsbeat that the potholes were being repaired more rapidly.