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Articles by Charles R. Wolfe

Charles R. (Chuck) Wolfe, M.R.P., J.D. is an attorney in Seattle, where he focuses on land use and environmental law and permitting, including the use of innovative land use regulatory tools and sustainable development techniques on behalf of both the private and public sectors and the successful redevelopment of infill properties under federal, state, and local regulatory regimes. He is also an Affiliate Associate Professor in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington, and contributes regularly on urban development topics for several publications including The Huffington Post,, and He blogs regularly at

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Photo: Topsy Qur’etThis may be the “most wonderful time of the year” for holiday music fans, but it’s a terrible time to drive: Constant freezing and thawing and the pounding of holiday traffic create craters in the asphalt large enough to swallow a Cooper Mini, leaving us to pick our way through a minefield of potholes. 

But who says that’s such a bad thing?

Potholes are a perennial topic of griping in cities worldwide, given their tendency to damage unsuspecting vehicles, threaten bicyclists, and impede all modes of traffic. We debate their origin (“Did they really start in ancient Rome?”), allow them a starring role in politics, build tougher cars to withstand them, and blame budget shortfalls for their long lives.

Ironically, because most potholes are located firmly within the public domain, private sector or charitable attempts to fix them are often deemed inappropriate by transportation officials: These non-public remedies could speed things up, but they may not meet public road standards for materials or safety. Websites such as regularly chronicle the associated political... Read more

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