Council gets report on state of city’s streets


By James R. Riffel

City News Service

Work to bring the city of San Diego’s streets and paved alleys up to par will require spending above what the mayor’s office anticipates in the next five years, the city’s Independent Budget Analyst said Wednewday.

Discussions on the sad shape of San Diego’s roads took place in meetings of the City Council’s Budget Committee and Land Use and Housing Committee.

IBA 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.

“It’s imperative that we have a yearly budget that adequately maintains the roads,” Councilman Kevin Faulconer said.

A report presented to 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.

The portion of streets in poor condition climbed from 9 percent in 2001 to 25 percent, according to the study.

The latest survey was the first to assess all 2,800 miles of paved streets and more than 200 miles of paved alleys. According to the report, previous studies looked at about 50 percent of the roadways.

Sanders and the City Council embarked on an extensive repaving program this year to improve road conditions, but department interim Director Garth Sturdevan said a multi-year effort is needed to improve city streets.