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Even if you know the way to San Jose, you’re better off driving in Detroit

The next time you find yourself weaving while you drive –not because of intoxicants or phone, GPS or other distractions, but because of potholes—rejoice that you are not driving in San Jose!

According to a study released yesterday (Sept. 22) by The Road Information Program (TRIP), Detroit ranked 17th among the 20 U.S. metro areas with the highest share of state and local roads in rough shape.  TRIP is a Washington, D.C. nonprofit transportation research group financed primarily by the construction industry.

As you worry whether you are about to suffer a blowout or another bent tire rim, be comforted by the fact that only 38 percent of Detroit roads are in poor shape.  Just think about those poor drivers in San Jose, Los Angeles and Honolulu (I really don’t worry about Honolulu folks on any measure) where the poor road shares are 64 percent, 63 percent and 62 percent, respectively.

The cost of these poor roads is estimated to average $536 per year for Detroiters, which covers the additional maintenance and gas costs due to increased wear and tear.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel (or pothole)?  Alas, I doubt it as Michigan’s transportation department faces significant financial shortfalls in roadwork money.  In fact, we face the loss of $475 million from the feds because we can’t afford to come up with the matching funds!

Get out those Schwinns, those Treks, those Raleighs and more!  Get out Keds, those Doc Martens or those hiking boots.  Greenways and bike lanes (preferably without potholes) are our only hope!