Complaints about pot-holes go back a long time. In 1861, courts fined the town of Adams, Mass $300 in damages from its roads. This formed the early precedent of being able to sue one’s town for pot holes, which most Massholes believe they still have today, though this was mostly eliminated by legislation in the 1920s-30s.
We know the problem of road maintenance is nothing new under the sun. We also know that- like so many modern municipal problems- it was made worse by the decisions of our forebearers, during “the good old days.” Our roads and other faulty municipal services show the consequences of how toxic the American dream became to communities in the 50s and 60s- its misguided aspirations of suburban sprawl and urban renewal robbed our towns and cities of critical density and efficiency. Nearly 25% of Pittsfield’s 200 miles of road were built after the city’s population already peaked and began to decline. Dozens more miles of suburban asphalt were added even as it lost nearly 1/3 of its population, and with it the tax base to pay for their upkeeep.