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San Diego moving forward on street repaving project

By Jerry Sanders

Mayor, San Diego

One of the most basic jobs of city government is making sure the streets are smooth and safe.

Earlier this month, we began what might be the largest streets repaving project in San Diego history. We will give a complete makeover to 134 miles of the city’s most damaged streets — more than 1,000 city blocks. With this $47 million project the city will perform asphalt resurfacing on nearly as many miles of streets as it did in the previous eight fiscal years combined.

It should go without saying that this project will make the city a nicer, more livable place. But it also makes financial sense. The worse condition the street, the more money to fix it. So postponing this work would mean paying more money in the long run. And in this economy, we’re also getting that work done at a bargain price.

Many of you are all too familiar with this community’s axle-shaking, teeth-rattling roads — La Jolla Village Drive, for example. The list goes on and on. One resident recently joked that the only vehicle equipped to handle the hazards of Mira Mesa Boulevard would be a tank.

The condition of many of these streets is an embarrassment and a public-safety hazard. They also have an impact on a neighborhood’s basic quality of life. Well-maintained streets say a lot about a city’s sense of civic pride. Several decades ago, a sociologist theorized that making small fixes in a neighborhood — cleaning up litter, fixing sidewalk cracks, repairing broken windows — is the best way to make sure that neighborhood won’t deteriorate. Sociologists call this “the broken window theory,” and it’s a good guiding principle for a mayor of any city, large or small.

If everything goes according to plan, all the streets listed above, and hundreds of others, will be repaved with asphalt by the summer of 2011. In addition to these streets, we will be performing slurry-seal resurfacing of an additional 147 miles of roads. That, too, is a figure that might be unprecedented in city history. A complete list of these streets can be found on the city’s web site, www.sandiego.gov.

We like to call San Diego America’s Finest City. This work will help make sure our city lives up to its title.