Monday, January 9, 2012

When Oppression Comes in Round

Round, Iron Manhole Cover
What brilliant civil engineer decided to place manholes and their attendent, round manhole covers in the middle of the road?

Is this ancient Rome's fault (as so many things are), or Thomas Edison's, or is there someone else whom we can blame for persisting in the use of these iron banes to a commuter's existence?

Maybe it didn't matter as much when cars were going 14 miles per hour or when horses were pulling buggies and wagons through dusty city streets, but it matters now.

As if potholes, train tracks, and buckling New Jersey asphalt isn't bad enough, the brain surgeons in charge of roads, sewage, or utilities in New Jersey (and America at large) persist in increasing the wear and tear on our cars and the crappy driving conditions by placing manholes in the middle of side streets, and highways alike.

And not only do they place them on roads where you will hit them every few hundred feet while you are going 50 or 60 miles per hour, but they seem to indent them into the road surface just for a little bit of extra fun -- or at least for maximum discomfort on people and wear to vehicles. (Perhaps this was a deal with auto makers in Detroit to shorten vehicle life.)

Manholes in all cases should be placed under the sidewalks near the street, or at least as close to the edge of the travel surface as possible. How about placing them at the shoulder of the road, whether that shoulder is dirt or paved? It doesn't seem like a difficult requirement, at least going forward. (But then again we'll all be in flying cars soon, right? So the point will be moot. Or will it? Leave it up to the civil engineers and they will find a way to add potholes to the sky.)

I don't appreciate this travel malady, this civil engineering oppression, nor have I ever done so and I think the next president of the U.S. should address the malplacement of manholes.

I think it's an issue we can all support.

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