New York City’s Pothole Problem

Zip Codes with Most Potholes

Potholes are common in areas where there are constant freeze-thaw cycles and heavy traffic. New York City contains both these elements which is why it ranks sixth when it comes to cities with the worst pothole issues and road conditions.

However, potholes are more than an annoyance. They can pose a considerable danger to drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists and cities must make their repair a priority. Unfortunately, response times to potholes are often slow. Here is what we learned about the number of potholes, how quickly they are addressed, and which areas produce most of them.

The Pothole Data

Using data collected and  provided by NYC Open Data on potholes and the city’s response time to repair them. This is what we discovered.

How Many Potholes?


In 2017, there were approximately 60,712 total complaints regarding potholes. Most of these arose as street condition complaints, although there were reports of potholes on bridges and highways too.

Each borough reported the following number of potholes:

  1. Queens: 20,968
  2. Brooklyn: 15,443
  3. Bronx: 9,160
  4. Manhattan: 8,225
  5. Staten Island: 6,860
  6. No location specified: 44

Potholes by Zip Code

Interestingly enough, Staten Island had the fewest overall potholes, however, two of its zip codes (10314 and 10312) produce the first and third highest number of complaints with 1,259 and 926 reports respectively. Queens zip code 11101 made 969 reports for the second highest number of reported potholes.

Most pothole complaints arose in April, which is when the freeze-thaw cycles start to slow down and drivers are more likely to notice road damage. In that month, 15.05 percent of road conditions complaints were linked to potholes. Complaints dropped to 3.93 percent in November when winter weather conditions made potholes less noticeable.

When it came to streets, the most complaints arose from Broadway, Ocean Parkway, and Northern Boulevard. While the data showed some concentrated spots for potholes, few areas were left untouched by them. It is fair to say that every area in the city faces potholes problems once winter concludes.

How Long It Takes to Fix Them

Average time to fix potholes

Since New York City is unlikely to become a pothole-free area during any year, the focus is on repairing these hazards. Unfortunately, attention and response time to these complaints is often mixed.

On average, it takes New York city road crews about two and a half days to respond to a pothole complaint. But residents of some areas likely wish response time was closer to that time rather than what they face in reality.

Boroughs with Most Potholes
Each borough’s road crew’s response time to potholes also varies:

  1. Brooklyn: 3.9 days
  2. Manhattan: 3.2 days
  3. Bronx: 2.8 days
  4. Queens: 1.8 days
  5. Staten Island: 1.6 days
  6. For the boroughs that have been unspecified: 1.2 days

Areas with the most potholes are often the slowest at repairing them. Brooklyn is the slowest borough with an average response time of nearly four days. Manhattan does not sustain as many potholes but it takes just under three and a half days to respond to them. Staten Island responds the quickest at just over one and a half days.

Also, Brooklyn zip codes 11239, 11217, and 11204 have the slowest average time it takes to respond to a pothole at 5.5 days, 5 days, and 4.9 days respectively. Queens zip codes 11105 and 11361 respond to potholes the quickest at 1.3 days and 1.4 days. Staten Island zip code 10310 also responds relatively quickly to potholes at 1.4 days.

If you find a pothole, you may have to tolerate it for a little while. That is why you need to be aware of them and know how to avoid the dangers.

Specific Locations that Reported the Most Potholes

Potholes are unavoidable, but we did find data that can help you become more aware of the issue and possibly even more knowledgeable about the areas with the most reported potholes.

Streets with Most Potholes

Part of our data pointed to the streets in New York that reported the most potholes:

most common streets

Intersections with Most Potholes

There are also 5 specific intersections that experience recurring pothole problems:
Most common pothole intersections

Problems Posed by Potholes

New York traffic fatalities occur mainly in Queens, which also produces the most pothole complaints. While our data does not indicate a direct link between the potholes and these accidents, there is a possibility that exists. After all, one-third of traffic fatalities nationwide are attributed to poor road conditions.

Potholes are most frequently noted for the damage they cause automobiles. Broken axles, flat tires or damaged rims are common consequences of hitting a pothole. Drivers also report alignment issues.

This damage may disable vehicles which makes them an obstacle on New York’s crowded streets. Inattentive drivers may collide with disabled vehicles or strike drivers who leave their cars to assess damage. Poor alignment after a pothole impact affects vehicle maneuverability which leaves drivers much more likely to get into accidents.

Potholes are very dangerous to bicycles. Hitting a pothole is devastating on a bicycle and its rider. They cause much of the same tire and rim damage on bicycles as they do no cars but also leaves riders vulnerable when they fall. If a rider is not injured by the fall, they may be injured or killed by a driver that cannot avoid them.

Reporting Potholes

If you find a pothole, report it. City crews cannot repair them unless they know about them. Even if you think a pothole has been around for a while and someone must have reported it, add your report too. This assures the city knows about it. If your complaint is one of many, perhaps repair may become a bigger priority.

Fortunately, the city offers an online pothole reporting form. If you find a pothole, go to this link and fill in the required information. Once you file a report, make note of the “Defect ID” assigned to your complaint. You can use this ID to check the status on this page of your pothole repair request.

The Daily Pothole blog takes a humorous but productive approach to solving the pothole problem. Maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation, you can visit the blog to stay current on road conditions and find needed links to report issues to the city. This shows the city is at least interested in improving services and improve response times.

As long as New York City has these winters, and the street damage that results from them, you will always encounter potholes. There is also a chance that you may sustain injuries from them due to a bicycle, automobile or pedestrian accident.

If you are injured by any road condition, including potholes, you may be able to secure damages from the city as well as the other negligent parties. The only way to know for certain is with a free case review from The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.