Gainesville resident Sarah Magee has seen the deterioration of Southwest 62nd Boulevard firsthand.
For years, potholes have lined the busy two-lane street, causing drivers to regularly swerve into the median to avoid the dips in the road.
“I can’t remember the roads not being like this, unfortunately,” said Magee, a leasing consultant at Spyglass Apartments on Southwest 62nd Boulevard, which runs just east of Interstate 75 mainly between Newberry Road and Southwest 20th Avenue. “At least for the past five years, they have gotten worse.”
But now, the road has more problems after an unknown vandal spray painted about a dozen penises on the asphalt this weekend, possibly to bring attention to the damage. The person incorporated the road’s cracks into some of the graffiti designs.
Chip Skinner, a spokesperson for Gainesville’s Regional Transit System, said the city is aware of the graffiti. A crew was sent out on Monday, and the artwork is expected to be removed within the next two days, Skinner said.
“It’s really sad that somebody had gone out there and taken that approach when the city has multiple avenues for them to contact us,” Skinner said.
This isn’t the first time a person has painted penises to emphasize poor road conditions.
In April 2015, a man in England who went by the name “Wanksy” drew phallic images on a street to draw attention to potholes. Two days later, the holes were being filled.
Skinner didn’t have a time frame for when the Gainesville street would be repaired. But, he added, there have been discussions about moving forward with construction because of the road’s condition.
The city has known for about 10 years that the road has been deteriorating, but a lack of funding has made it difficult to fix, Skinner said.
“If anybody were to get out of their vehicle and look at it, it has what we call alligator cracking, which kind of looks like the scales on the back of an alligator, which is very deep,” Skinner said. “The longer that those cracks remain, the deeper it goes into the roadway.”
Magee said she has seen the city complete temporary patchworking on the road from time to time.
“Unfortunately, those temporary fixes aren’t enough to keep the road stable,” she said.
And even though the entrance to Spyglass is located near the stretch of graffiti, Magee said there has not been a dip in contract sales, despite residential complaints.
A county-wide 1-cent transportation sales tax appeared on the November 2014 ballot and was proposed with the intent of generating revenue for road repairs, pedestrian projects and increased bus routes, Skinner said.
“We would have had a dedicated source of funding,” Skinner said.
But the tax was rejected, with 60 percent of voters opposing.
“Now we have this backlog of roads not only with the city but also the county on maintenance projects that need to be completed,” Skinner said.
For now, Skinner said the city is still finalizing plans for Southwest 62nd Boulevard.
“Decisions haven’t been formalized yet,” he said, “but it is working its way through the city’s work schedule.”