By Kathy Day
City street crews were set to start working in La Jolla and other parts of Council District 1 this week on what Councilwoman Sherri Lightner calls a “pothole roundup.”
She announced the “event” recently on Facebook, urging people to submit repair requests as they did last April after the Light’s urged readers to let city officials know where streets needed fixing.
The streets that residents report most often, according to her spokeswoman Jennifer Davies, are La Jolla Parkway, Torrey Pines Road, Via Capri and Coast Boulevard.
The staff compiled a list for this week’s effort from the requests and “from staff driving around the different communities to make sure we had a comprehensive list,” she added.
They have noted about 60 streets that need fixes, some of which have several potholes. In La Jolla more than 15 stretches of road are on the list.
When Lightner set up the spring “roundup,” crews fixed close to 400 holes in La Jolla, University Carmel Valley and Rancho Penasquitos and the other neighborhoods of her district.
“The reason for the roundup is that streets continue to be a big issue for residents,” Davies wrote on Monday. “It is a tangible sign of how well the city is doing, or not doing, at providing and maintaining its infrastructure. While there is much more to be done, these pothole roundups demonstrate to residents that the city is serious about getting its streets up to snuff.”
The repairs will follow several key jobs recently completed on area roads, said Bill Harris, spokesman for the transportation and stormwater division. Among them are a stretch of La Jolla Village Drive, Genesee Avenue near the UCSD and Scripps Memorial medical complexes and along Nobel Drive.
Acknowledging reports that the city has struggled available money on street maintenance, he said, that the issues with purchasing and contracting have been resolved and money is being added to get projects on track.
“We will see a lot of projects flying out the doors (soon),” he said last week. Funding is coming from a variety of sources, including the city’s General Fund, bond funds, voter-approved Transnet taxes and Proposition 42, which allows use of gas tax for transportation purposes.
With pothole reports, the streets division “remains committed to a 72-hour turnaround, although that’s sometimes hard to meet given the magnitude of work,” Harris noted.
Those that get the most immediate responses are the ones reported through the city’s website at
or by calling (619) 527-7500 since those calls and reports are logged in daily and carefully tracked, he said.
While they get more phone calls, using the website is very helpful because residents can report more specific details about the location and condition of the problem, he said.
Direct reports to the city work better than those “through intermediary reporting processes that take 10 to 14 days (to get through the system) and are worsening the bureaucracy,” he added.
Lightner’s spokeswoman encouraged people to contact their office at (619) 236-6611. They will pass the reports along as they come in. That way, Davies added, “We can track the progress and help navigate the process. Plus, it helps us know where the trouble spots are so that when we conduct one of these roundups or make requests for repaving, we know where we should focus the city’s efforts.”
In mid-November, a report presented to City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee members said the condition of San Diego's streets and paved alleys deteriorated over the past decade.
According to a survey commissioned by the city's Transportation and Storm Water Department, San Diego's 2,800 miles of paved streets and 200-plus miles of paved alleys earned an overall rating of 57.6 out of 100, compared to 67 in 2001. The score is below other major cities in California.
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 survey conducted between March and June of this year found that 35 percent of the roads and alleys were in good condition, compared to 49 percent 10 years earlier.
Harris noted the survey was much more extensive than in previous years since someone drove over all 2,800 miles of city streets. In two prior assessments, only about 50 percent of the streets were surveyed.
During the Nov. 16 meeting the city's Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin told Budget Committee members that staff "will need considerable time" to figure out how much higher expenditures would have to go to fix the streets.
Extra road repair spending would be on top of $12 million in capital project expenditures that Tevlin said was underestimated in Mayor Jerry Sanders' recent five-year fiscal outlook. The upshot is an increase in projected budget shortfalls in the next four fiscal years, and a lower surplus in the fifth year.
However, city Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone said the $12 million discrepancy could be resolved. Financial Management Director Mark Leonard said it stemmed from the two sides calculating the numbers differently.
— City News Service contributed to this report.