FOR Toledoans weary from a long, cold winter that has left city streets in a pothole-filled mess, Mayor Jack Ford's ambitious repaving and repair program cannot come fast enough.
The mayor has laid out an expansive plan to completely repave 27.5 miles of roadway, including suspension-jangling, tire-blowing stretches of Glendale Avenue, Airport Highway, Navarre Avenue, Cherry Street, Detroit Avenue, Bancroft Street, Jefferson Avenue, Monroe Street, and Collingwood Boulevard.
Another 37.4 miles will be "reconditioned," which apparently means a substantially better job of smoothing over potholes and other broken pavement than can be managed while ice and snow still plague the city.
In addition, 35 miles of curbless streets will be sealed, while cracks will be sealed on another 30 lane-miles of battered pavement.
All told, that's more than 90 miles of repaving, reconditioning, and sealing, about triple the city's usual program - a tall order, if it can be completed, but absolutely necessary to restoring the streets to something approaching drivable conditions.
Cynics undoubtedly will discount the mayor's full-court press on this problem because it's an election year, but such criticism misses the mark. Blaming Jack Ford for potholes is akin to blaming Florida for hurricanes.
Potholes are a natural consequence of the freezing and thawing cycle that occurs in northern Ohio every winter. Every city has them to a greater or lesser extent and this year in Toledo the pavement chasms are nothing short of monstrous, a threat to the structural integrity of every motor vehicle on the road.
What this or any other city administration does deserve to be judged on, however, is how quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly the streets are fixed once freezing weather is safely past and work can proceed apace.
Given the vehemence of public reaction to potholes this winter, it won't be surprising if the administration faces reverse criticism from motorists dodging orange barrels as the repaving crews fan out to do their work this spring and summer.