Roxborough residents want sticky, black substance cleaned up from their streets

The black tire marks etched on Keiffer Street at the intersection of Wigard Avenue in Roxborough turn and pivot in all directions for several blocks. 

Neighbors say it’s a mess and they have no idea what it is. As of Friday morning, all 3-1-1 told them is that they’ll look into it. What neighbors do know, however, is that it’s causing problems.

“I literally stepped in that goo getting tools out of my truck,” said Dan Riddle, a paint contractor who was getting ready to start work in a local house. “You see my footprint in it. It’s not even dried. It’s on the bottom of my shoe, and now I gotta go track that into somebody’s house.”

The goo is not only sticky, but stinky. It smells like the hot tar used to pave cracks in the street, which neighbor Elise Firevanti appreciates, but she says the mess it’s making should be cleaned up.

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“People are walking in that stuff, driving in it, and it’s going all over the streets. It’s on my tires and Lord knows that’s causing damage there. When are they cleaning this mess?” asked Firevanti.

“This is a neighborhood with kids who play in the streets. I think that can be dangerous,” said Gabe Thompson, who has a young daughter.

“It’s really not fun biking through,” added Jason O’Connel, who was cycling down the block. “I thought I was gonna fall off my bike for a second. It caught my tires for a second.”

The Streets Department later told NewsWorks that the substance is nontoxic liquid asphalt, which is used to seal cracks on roads. They say it will eventually dry up, but the smell will linger for a few days.

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