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San Diego Has About 60 Miles Of Unpaved Roads, Councilwoman Moreno Wants To Change That

San Diego's skyline is shown in this undated photo.

Photo by Milan Kovacevic

Above: San Diego's skyline is shown in this undated photo.

With its beautiful coastline and stunning skyline, it’s easy to see why San Diego is known as “America’s Finest City.”

So, it might come as a surprise to learn that more than 33 miles of city streets are not paved. The same is true for more than 28 miles of alleys.

Listen to this story by John Carroll.

Nearly 13 miles of the dirt streets are in Council District 8, and more than 10 miles are in Council District 4.

Both areas are south of Interstate 8 in low-income neighborhoods.

The reason for that dates back to city policies enacted in the early 1950s and late '70s that prohibit the city from paving dirt streets.

Even more surprising is the fact that people who live along the dirt streets are responsible for maintenance.

District 8 councilwoman Vivian Moreno says she was shocked when she found out about the unpaved roads. She said doing something about them is a matter of basic social equity.

“It disproportionately hits lower income, Black and brown communities and so this is just, this is something so outdated ... it is really making a second-class community in the city of San Diego. And I, as a council member, will not stand for that,” Moreno said.

The councilwoman has introduced legislation to change the old policies which she hopes the council will vote on before the end of the year.

It won’t be cheap. Depending on the level of upgrades, paving all the dirt roads and alleys could cost anywhere from $300 million to $900 million.

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Aired: October 20, 2020 | Transcript

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John Carroll
General Assignment Reporter & Anchor

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm a general assignment reporter and Saturday morning radio anchor for KPBS. I love coming up with story ideas that aren't being covered elsewhere, but I'm also ready to cover the breaking news of the day. In addition, I bring you the local news headlines on Saturday mornings during NPR's Weekend Edition.

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