HOUSTON George Silva was hard at work Tuesday evening, using a shovel and a big pile of dirt to patch up a pothole on Darling Street he no longer wanted to dodge.

You can hear those cars just banging really bad, said Silva. The heavy duty trucks make it worse.

That s why Silva decided to grab some tools and try to make things better.

The problem is that he s a retired 69-year-old homeowner with a surgically repaired knee, and he was doing the work free of charge.

I guess the city should do this, added Silva. I don t know who else should do it.

The hole was several inches deep before Silva began his makeshift repairs. Several cars that ran over it on the street to bottomed out. Neighbors said they ve been calling 311, complaining for weeks.

We would like to think we could have a city that could react faster, said Jeff Jackson.

A spokesperson for Public Works said the department is under-staffed and over-burdened with potholes all over the place. He urged residents to be patient instead of taking matters into their own hands, which he said could make things worse.

But that wasn t a concern of Silva or his neighbors.

I m glad this gentleman came out and decided to fix it, said Jackson.

This is just common sense, added Silva.

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