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Smoother Ride on South Bay Streets and Roads as County, Cities Put Tax Dollars to Work

John Goodwin, 415-778-5262
Randy Rentschler, 415-778-6780

Santa Clara County and its 15 cities largely improved the quality of the pavement on their local street and road networks in 2018, with Campbell, Cupertino and Monte Sereno registering the biggest year-over-year improvements, and Cupertino and Palo Alto boasting some of the smoothest streets in the Bay Area. Data released today by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) show Santa Clara County’s roughly 10,000 lane-miles of city streets and county roads registered an average pavement condition index (PCI) score of 69 out of a maximum possible 100 points last year, as calculated on a three-year moving average basis. This marks a one-point increase from the 2015-17 period and puts the typical stretch of South Bay asphalt at the high end of the “fair” range, and local officials expect the county’s PCIs scores to rise steadily in the years ahead.

“Last year was the first full year that local governments received SB 1 money for local streets and roads,” explained Santa Clara County Supervisor and MTC Commissioner Dave Cortese, referring to the transportation funding package approved by the state Legislature in 2017.  “That investment is starting to pay dividends, but the county and our cities still have a lot of work left to do.”

“Although the data shows San Jose’s average pavement condition has improved in each of the last two years, every driver in San Jose knows we have a long way to go to reach a pothole-free future,” noted Mayor Sam Liccardo, who also serves as an MTC Commissioner.  “The voters’ support of San Jose Measure T and VTA Measure B will prove vital for restoring the condition of our roads over the next decade.”

PCI scores of 90 or higher are considered “excellent.” Pavement with a PCI score in the 80 to 89 range is considered “very good.” The “good” category ranges from 70 to 79, while streets with PCI scores in the “fair” (60-69) range are becoming worn to the point where rehabilitation may be needed to prevent rapid deterioration. Because major repairs cost five to 10 times more than routine maintenance, these streets are at an especially critical stage. Roadways with PCI scores of 50 to 59 are deemed “at-risk,” while those with PCI scores of 25 to 49 are considered “poor.” Pavement with a PCI score below 25 is considered “failed.”  Three-year moving average PCI scores for all Santa Clara County jurisdictions are listed below:

Jurisdiction Total Lane Miles 2016 2017 2018
Campbell 230 70 67 69
Cupertino 297 72 76 81
Gilroy 268 68 67 67
Los Altos 227 73 71 71
Los Altos Hills 125 78 79 79
Los Gatos 230 67 66 67
Milpitas 299 73 74 74
Monte Sereno 27 62 62 63
Morgan Hill 287 69 69 71
Mountain View 332 71 72 71
Palo Alto 414 81 83 84
San Jose 4,317 62 64 65
Santa Clara 606 73 74 75
Santa Clara Co.
1,426 69 67 67
Saratoga 283 68 69 70
Sunnyvale 638 76 76 76


The full Pavement Conditions Summary, including a list of average PCI scores for all Bay Area counties and cities, may be found at MTC’s Vital Signs website provides even more detailed information, including both block-by-block analyses and a record of every municipality’s average PCI score for each year from 2003 through 2018. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

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