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Public Safety

$15M Dedicated To Improve San Ysidro Sidewalk Safety

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School children and pedestrians in San Ysidro got a $15 million boost Wednesday to improve the sidewalk safety of a road corridor long criticized for its unsafe conditions.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer broke ground on the Old Otay Mesa Road Improvements Project, which will improve road conditions on a narrow dirt path used for years by students to get to San Ysidro's elementary school and high school.

"Our tax dollars should be fixing our streets and improving our neighborhoods, not gathering dust in a bank account," Faulconer said. "These reforms will cut red tape so we can complete more neighborhood projects like Old Otay Mesa Road. We're completely changing the way the city prioritizes funding so that every community gets the neighborhood and infrastructure improvements they deserve."

The long-awaited improvements — part of Faulconer's "repair the repair program" — will include widening and realigning the roadway, adding bike lanes and retaining walls and installing a sidewalk and guardrails.

The city also released a report showing nearly $75 million is available for more than 60 neighborhood projects awaiting funding.

The city's Department of Financial Management report described the money- management improvements the city has made to its Capital Improvement Project program. Among the improvements made, projects with excess cash will have money redistributed to other projects in need of funding including street repairs, parks and libraries, according to the department.

Projects that came in under budget account for $55.5 million of the total funds available, while $5.3 million is up for grabs from excess funds for completed projects, $12 million can be used from projects that don't need large amounts of cash up front and $1.9 million from savings from unspent contingency funds.

Once reforms are fully implemented, projects such as street repairs are expected to be completed 20 percent faster, according to the department.

The reforms will go before the City Council, where members will be asked to approve transferring savings from completed projects, projects that are under budget and projects that do not require large amounts of cash, among other savings.

The report is scheduled to be heard by the council's Infrastructure Committee on Dec. 8.