Bay Area Roads Consistently Mediocre for Nearly a Decade

Bay Area roads have been consistently mediocre for nearly a decade, according to data released today by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

In a survey that graded the 43,000 miles of streets and roads throughout the area, local cities and counties received a grade ranging from 44 to 86 on a 100-point scale.

The area’s three largest cities have been persistently average since 2006. Oakland was graded at 60, San Jose at 62 and San Francisco at 65.

This is not inconsistent with other California metro areas. According to a statewide survey, San Diego, Sacramento and Los Angeles counties all received similar scores.

The area’s worst roads belonged to Larkspur in Marin County and St. Helena in Napa County, which each received a grade of 40, considered poor.

The best score was posted by Brentwood in Contra Costa County with a score of 86 followed closely by Dublin in Alameda County with a score of 85.

Given the budget struggles that state and local governments have faced since 2008, it has been challenging even to prevent infrastructure from deteriorating over the last few years, MTC officials said.

Some municipalities have looked into specific fundraising efforts to maintain roads.

“The clearest example is El Cerrito, which passed a half-cent sales tax in 2008 to finance a very successful citywide street improvement program,” MTC Chairwoman Amy Rein Worth said in a news release.

“Voters in Orinda and Moraga approved similar measures in 2012 and that money is now being put to work,” she said.

El Cerrito’s score improved from 73 in 2011 to 84 in the most recent survey, while Moraga, considered the most improved municipality over the last year, went from 50 last year to 58 this year.

Orinda remains unchanged at 48 but Worth, a member of the Orinda City Council, said, “I expect next year’s report to show the same kind of progress in my city of Orinda.”

Numerous area cities have streets that scored below 60, considered at-risk or poor according to the pavement condition index.

Those cities are Albany, Belmont, Benicia, Berkeley, Calistoga, Cotati, East Palo Alto, Millbrae, Moraga, Orinda, Pacifica, Petaluma, Rio Vista, San Anselmo, San Leandro, Vallejo and unincorporated areas of Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties.

A handful of cities exceeded a score of 80, considered very good. They are Brentwood, Dublin, El Cerrito, Atherton, Belvedere and Foster City.

Scott Morris, Bay City News

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