'I was seeing so many people fall': Toronto man takes pothole issue into his own hands
Published Tuesday, June 25, 2019 9:07AM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, June 25, 2019 8:16PM EDT
A Toronto man has decided to take the issue of potholes into his own hands.
John Long called in a team of helpers to fill a massive pothole along the Martin Goodman Trail near Cherry Street after he said he noticed many cyclists falling.
“I was paving my area anyways and there was just such a big hole and I was seeing so many people fall off so I just decided to pave it and clean it up a bit and make it safer for pedestrians,” he said on Tuesday morning.
Long said by acting on the fault in the road he was not trying to be critical of the City of Toronto.
“I get along with the city pretty good and I’ve done business with them for many years,” he said. “They are busy, they’ve got a lot of pot holes, a lot of things to fix – they don’t always have a lot of time and I understand it so I took it upon myself to do it.”
“I don’t mind.”
Those using the trail on Tuesday morning, thanked Long and one even called him “a legend.”
“I’m not looking for nothing,” Long said. “I just want people to be safe.”
Two people running along the pavement around 9 a.m. stopped to thank Long for his work.
“(The pothole) was just a big, big, big puddle and you had to go around or try to find your way around and you just couldn’t, it was craziness,” one of the runners said. “This was a nice surprised.”
Long said he notified his local city councillor, Paula Fletcher, of his action.
“She was very, very impressed that I did it, surprised, but she knows what I’m like,” he said. “She knows and she’s very, very happy.”
Mayor John Tory said Long’s efforts are definitely a help but he does not recommend everyone start following suit.
“It’s been a bad year,” Tory said. “The winter weather was severe, as people know, and the spring weather was not better. We have filled 119,000 plus potholes but for a citizen to come forward and do a few more in a place that helps people use Martin Goodman Trail is a good thing and I welcome that but we are working away to make sure we can do more as a city to fill what will amount to hundreds of thousands by the time it’s all said and done.”
“You do have to have a certain degree of quality control but in the case of this man, he had a piece of his own property he was paving and he had professional people doing it and so it was a useful add-on.”
The city said those wanting to let officials know about a pothole are urged to contact 311.
“This gentleman, we don’t want him to take on any personal liability,” road operations superintendent Mark Mills said. “This is work that the city should be doing. We have a specification, we hope that the work meets our specification.”
“We could have our workers here, our inspectors here within four days if you call us in to have a look, and we would make the decision what needs to be done.”