News

Report finds Bay Area roads remain in rough shape

Palo Alto among cities that receive 'very good' rankings

A biker rides down Bryant Street in Palo Alto on July 7, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Although roads in some Bay Area communities have shown vast improvement, the region's roads remain in rough shape, according to a recent pavement quality report.

The Bay Area's 44,000 lane miles of streets and roads received a pavement condition index (PCI) score of 67 out of 100 for the sixth consecutive year from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

PCI scores are calculated on a three-year moving average and scaled on levels from excellent to failed.

Roads that are newly built or resurfaced streets that show little to no distress receive PCI scores in the 90s. A score in the 80s is considered "very good," with roads showing slight to moderate distress. PCI scores of 25 to 49 are considered in poor condition. Anything below 25 is a "failed" road.

Streets with a PCI score in the 60s are worn to the point that rehabilitation is needed to prevent "rapid deterioration."

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MTC officials said those streets are at the "most critical stage" because major repairs can cost five to 10 times more than routine maintenance.

East Palo Alto, Los Altos and Mountain View received a "fair" PCI score of 60, 66 and 68 respectively, indicating that streets in these cities need repair soon to prevent rapid deterioration.

Cities that received a "good" PCI score included Redwood City, which received a score of 72; Atherton, which received a score of 75; Portola Valley, which received a score of 77; and Menlo Park, Woodside and Los Altos Hills, which received PCI scores of 79.

Palo Alto received a "very good" PCI score of 83, indicating that its streets only show slight to moderate distress and primarily require preventive maintenance.

The region's three largest cities reflect how the most recent pavement quality data is a "mixed bag," with San Francisco receiving a "good" score of 74, San Jose receiving a "fair" score of 67 and Oakland receiving an "at risk" score of 53, according to the MTC.

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San Jose and Oakland both improved their three-year moving scores by one point each, which leaders attribute to the use of funds from Senate Bill 1's state gas tax, which allots funding to local cities and counties for basic road maintenance, rehabilitation and critical safety projects.

That was especially true in Oakland, where the PCI one-year score jumped nine points from a "poor" score of 49 in 2020 to 58 last year.

"We're proud to be picking up the pace for implementing our equity-driven paving plan," said MTC commissioner and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. "We're delivering swift improvements with an approach that is recognized as a national leader in directing resources where they are most needed to provide all communities with the smooth, safe streets they deserve."

The Marin County city of Larkspur was the only city to outpace Oakland's year-over-year improvement, recording an 11-point increase to 76 last year from 65 in 2020.

Larkspur had registered one-year PCI scores in the "poor" range as recently as 2017 but has passed local sales tax measures dedicated to rehabilitating the city's streets.

Cupertino leads the region with a three-year moving average score of 84.

Cities and areas that have also received rankings of "very good," which MTC chair and Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza said is a regional goal, include Orinda, Palo Alto, Dublin, Brentwood and unincorporated Solano County.

Pacifica once again recorded the lowest PCI score regionwide. It recorded a PCI score of 42 for 2019-2021.

The only other jurisdictions with three-year moving PCI scores in the "poor" category are Petaluma, Sebastopol and unincorporated Napa County.

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Palo Alto Weekly editorial intern Emily Margaretten contributed to this report.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Report finds Bay Area roads remain in rough shape

Palo Alto among cities that receive 'very good' rankings

by Heather Allen / Bay City News Foundation /

Uploaded: Tue, Nov 1, 2022, 5:07 pm

Although roads in some Bay Area communities have shown vast improvement, the region's roads remain in rough shape, according to a recent pavement quality report.

The Bay Area's 44,000 lane miles of streets and roads received a pavement condition index (PCI) score of 67 out of 100 for the sixth consecutive year from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

PCI scores are calculated on a three-year moving average and scaled on levels from excellent to failed.

Roads that are newly built or resurfaced streets that show little to no distress receive PCI scores in the 90s. A score in the 80s is considered "very good," with roads showing slight to moderate distress. PCI scores of 25 to 49 are considered in poor condition. Anything below 25 is a "failed" road.

Streets with a PCI score in the 60s are worn to the point that rehabilitation is needed to prevent "rapid deterioration."

MTC officials said those streets are at the "most critical stage" because major repairs can cost five to 10 times more than routine maintenance.

East Palo Alto, Los Altos and Mountain View received a "fair" PCI score of 60, 66 and 68 respectively, indicating that streets in these cities need repair soon to prevent rapid deterioration.

Cities that received a "good" PCI score included Redwood City, which received a score of 72; Atherton, which received a score of 75; Portola Valley, which received a score of 77; and Menlo Park, Woodside and Los Altos Hills, which received PCI scores of 79.

Palo Alto received a "very good" PCI score of 83, indicating that its streets only show slight to moderate distress and primarily require preventive maintenance.

The region's three largest cities reflect how the most recent pavement quality data is a "mixed bag," with San Francisco receiving a "good" score of 74, San Jose receiving a "fair" score of 67 and Oakland receiving an "at risk" score of 53, according to the MTC.

San Jose and Oakland both improved their three-year moving scores by one point each, which leaders attribute to the use of funds from Senate Bill 1's state gas tax, which allots funding to local cities and counties for basic road maintenance, rehabilitation and critical safety projects.

That was especially true in Oakland, where the PCI one-year score jumped nine points from a "poor" score of 49 in 2020 to 58 last year.

"We're proud to be picking up the pace for implementing our equity-driven paving plan," said MTC commissioner and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. "We're delivering swift improvements with an approach that is recognized as a national leader in directing resources where they are most needed to provide all communities with the smooth, safe streets they deserve."

The Marin County city of Larkspur was the only city to outpace Oakland's year-over-year improvement, recording an 11-point increase to 76 last year from 65 in 2020.

Larkspur had registered one-year PCI scores in the "poor" range as recently as 2017 but has passed local sales tax measures dedicated to rehabilitating the city's streets.

Cupertino leads the region with a three-year moving average score of 84.

Cities and areas that have also received rankings of "very good," which MTC chair and Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza said is a regional goal, include Orinda, Palo Alto, Dublin, Brentwood and unincorporated Solano County.

Pacifica once again recorded the lowest PCI score regionwide. It recorded a PCI score of 42 for 2019-2021.

The only other jurisdictions with three-year moving PCI scores in the "poor" category are Petaluma, Sebastopol and unincorporated Napa County.

Palo Alto Weekly editorial intern Emily Margaretten contributed to this report.

Comments

Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2022 at 5:57 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 1, 2022 at 5:57 pm

Why is it that as soon as a road is resurfaced something comes along and the surface is destroyed and repatched making a dreadful mess. 101 is a prime example, within months of a wonderful new surface, work was done on the bridge over the creek and then again with the fastrak lanes and now we see scrapes, divots and in places can still see the marks from the old temporary lane markings.

We get wonderful new surfaces and green paint for bike blvds and bike lanes, but the lanes used by the motorized traffic has pot holes which are rarely filled. One of the worst is Oregon ramps to 101 NB and SB and the city blames the county and the county blames the city, but the motorist suffers and since no bikes are allowed on this bridge then nobody cares to think about repairing it.

I hear of regular people in East Bay refilling them. I hear of regular people planting flowers in them. I hear of people putting paint circles around them. But I don't see some potholes being fixed and that is what we pay our taxes for. Not bike blvds. Not green bike lanes. Not express lanes that we pay to use. But for road maintenance. The regular roads that we drive everyday.


toransu
Registered user
Barron Park
on Nov 1, 2022 at 7:17 pm
toransu, Barron Park
Registered user
on Nov 1, 2022 at 7:17 pm

The roads wouldn't degrade so quickly if we had reliable alternatives to driving everywhere. But y'all would rather keep complaining rather than actually change things for the better.


Joel
Registered user
Barron Park
on Nov 2, 2022 at 11:33 am
Joel, Barron Park
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2022 at 11:33 am

Another complainer but whoever does the PCIing have not driven on El Camino Real in a few years. It's shocker to car shocks and tires. But I do agree with toransu point. Need to get out of our climate destroyers. Develop a better public transportation in Palo Alto.


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