Friday, November 04, 2016

S.F streets: "Worst" in the nation!


To experience America’s crumbling infrastructure firsthand, look no farther than San Francisco and Oakland — ranked this week by a transportation research group as being home to the worst roads of any large urban region in the country.

The Bay Area cities and their surrounding neighborhoods topped the list for having poor roadways for the second consecutive year, according to a study conducted by the Washington, D.C., group Trip.

San Francisco and Oakland had a whopping 71 percent of roads in shoddy condition, more than 10 percentage points higher than the Los Angeles area, which was the runner-up.

“It’s a simple explanation. We just haven’t invested enough in our infrastructure over the last couple of years,” said Will Kempton, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Transportation California. “The demand is very significant, and our system is aging”...

This is not a new development; I blogged about a similar study back in 2013.

How can this be in San Francisco? Seems like we're often voting for money to fix city streets, but it never seems to get done. The answer: a lot of the money is then used for "improvements" that have nothing to do with maintaining our streets: traffic "calming," bulb-outs, and bike lanes.

As our streets crumble, the SFMTA bureaucracy keeps getting bigger! 

Look back to SF's Proposition K in 2003 (page 143) that renewed the transportation sales tax. Here's the laundry list of projects the money was supposedly to be spent on:

• Maintenance of local streets; • Transportation for the elderly and disabled; • Construction of a Central Subway; • Upgrades to the bus system, including new buses, stations and dedicated lanes; • A Caltrain extension to a new Transbay Terminal; • Projects to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety; • Support for regional transportation systems (BART, Caltrain, and ferries); and • Replacing the roadway to Golden Gate Bridge (Doyle Drive).

"Maintenance of local streets" is on top of the list of mostly worthy projects, but somehow it never gets done adequately.

And city voters are being asked again to raise taxes to deal with the issue with Propositions J and K on next week's ballot!

Note that the Central Subway is high on the list. That project got more than a billion dollars in state and federal money and more than $123 million in local taxes. The price tag on that boondoggle steadily increased, from a mere $700 million in 2003 to the official $1,578,300 now, though it will surely be a lot more than that before it's done (See Aaron Peskin and the Central Subway).

From the Chronicle story on the study:

The report from the Trip research group tallied the average amount motorists pay for vehicle maintenance due to poor roadways. The typical driver in the San Francisco-Oakland area pays $978 a year for those costs. Motorists in San Jose — which also made the top 10 for car maintenance expenses — pay an average of $863, the study found.

Poorly maintained streets and potholes cost motorists repair money, but they can be serious safety hazards for cyclists. 

Since this is not a new issue, it makes you wonder why the Bicycle Coalition and Streetsblog continue to tolerate routinely poor street maintenance in San Francisco.

A bicyclist steers clear of a large pothole on Mission Street near Cortland Avenue in San Francisco. on March 5, 2014. The data from 2014 were used in a report released Tuesday that found San Francisco, Oakland and their surrounding neighborhoods had the worst street conditions among the country’s large urban areas. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle

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