Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

KPBS Midday Edition

Report: San Diego Streets See Big Improvement

Vehicles line the street near Naval Medical Center San Diego, Jan. 26, 2016.
Milan Kovacevic
Vehicles line the street near Naval Medical Center San Diego, Jan. 26, 2016.

Report: San Diego Streets See Big Improvement
Report: San Diego Streets See Big Improvement GUEST: Mark Kersey, councilman, city of San Diego

With just been talking about the need to invest in things to get people out of their cars and now we are going to talk about with the city of San Diego is investing in improving roads. Fixing potholes has been a top priority for politicians especially during election season. The mayor is not being challenged this year but he knows how important street repairs are to his constituents. A new report says that in the last five years, but a third of all cynical streets have been repaved. Here to fill us in on the progress has been made is Mark Hersey. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. In 2011 over they showed that 35% of streets were in good condition however change? It is change at a very positive way. It is gone from 35% good to 60% good in just the last five years. Just as importantly the percentage of streets that are rated in poor condition has gone from 25% down to just 6%. So we are very happy with both of those numbers. We still have plenty of work to do around town but is good to see up the efforts of the mayor and the Council are paying off and we are starting to get the roads repaved. How do you find out the condition of the streets? We have a few different ways. The main way is we have a third-party engineering consultant come in and they actually drive all the streets in the whole city and they have various sensors and monitors on the vehicle in addition to lasers and other things. There able to detect reverberations of the road. They can visually see potholes, street cracks. Then they are able to compare that to when they did the same type work five years ago. Which of the neighborhoods that have had the most work done so far. How did you decide how to prioritize this? There's that question up was at my neighborhood they're coming to? It is a thing where we have a number of different factors that come into play. One is the grade of the street and the condition of the street. If the street is in poor shape, obviously we would want to get that up to better shape pretty quickly. The maintenance history of the road what kind of road is it is is a road that serves a lot of vehicle traffic is a -- or is it a residential road things like that. What is a proximity to emergency facilities fire stations, police stations, or schools so we want safe Routes to school and people to be able to walk to school and bike to school. There's a number of different factors that play. There is community input as well and the goal over the last several years has been to take the politics out of it and really make it a more data-driven approach. I think that is the payoff. He has made it a party to fix city streets. You helped get proposition 8 passed in June. That did not ask for any extra revenue to do streets. That is why I think of being more specific about the amounts that are being spent and the amounts are needed is important. To think the city budgets have what is needed to do the job? For streets and roads, yes, absolutely. We have a multibillion-dollar backlog so it will take an effort. It was about a recognition that this mayor in the city Council have been good about making sure that there is money coming out of the city's current budget with the tax dollars that residence on this already. You did not call for any extra revenue to be raised for streets. And measure letter eight is a cell stacks of paper infrastructure projects. Regionwide what is your position? Bear in mind that it will give the city of San Diego funds for street repair. It is something that I don't presently support because I think that there is frankly too much in it that I just don't think will benefit the city of San Diego. I don't presently supported. When we went through encrusted proposition letter H. Or position was before you can as a residence to send more money in the form of tax increases, you have to prove about they are better setting them that spending the money. 65% agreed with us on that. That is something that we are pretty proud of. We also said that proposition H is not going to solve every road that the city has when it comes to infrastructure spending. Feature Mayorson councils will going to have to continue to look at this and at some point -- at that point they decide that we are spurring the dollars as wisely as we can and they're still not enough and they want to make that case to the voters, then they should do that. We are not saying that this is the solution for the next 30 years but it is what voters expect. The expect that we will more wisely spend the money. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having me on. I appreciate it.

The condition of surface streets in San Diego has gotten significantly better over the past five years, but there's still room for improvement, according to a long-awaited assessment released Tuesday.

The survey conducted by Cartegraph Systems Inc. is a follow-up to a 2011 report that found that San Diego's 2,800 miles of paved streets and 200-plus miles of paved alleys earned an overall rating of 59 out of 100. The new rating is 72.


A street in good condition has a rating of at least 70. A figure between 40 and 69 means a street is in fair condition. Below 40 is poor.

"The record level of investment we've made into fixing our streets is paying off for our communities," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

"With our aggressive approach, we're turning the tide to get San Diego's name off the list of cities with the worst roads and on to the list of cities with the best roads," Faulconer said. "We're going to keep paving until every neighborhood has smoother streets."

RELATED: Online Map Shows Condition of San Diego Streets

The assessment team examined 97 percent of the city's road network to assess the condition of pavement and the smoothness or roughness of the ride.


According to the report, 60 percent of the network is in good condition, 34 percent is fair and 6 percent is in the poor category. That compares to the 2011 assessment, in which only 34 percent of the roads and alleys were in good condition, 44 percent were fair and 22 percent poor.

Since the assessment five years ago, 520 miles of surface streets have been repaved, 11 miles of concrete roads have been replaced and slurry seal has been applied to 856 miles, according to the city. Slurry seal is a coating designed to maintain roadways in good or fair condition.

"This report demonstrates how much progress we've made on repairing our streets and also what still needs to be done," said Councilman Mark Kersey, chairman of the City Council's Infrastructure Committee.

The updated assessment, which officials will use to prioritize repaving projects, is scheduled to be presented Thursday to the City Council's Infrastructure Committee.