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Street Fight: An Overview

The Ongoing Battle for Better Bay Area Pavement
Street Fight
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bay Area cities and counties continue to struggle to maintain their streets and roads in decent condition, new data released by MTC shows. The Bay Area’s local streets and roads are a priceless asset, essential to the region’s livability and economic health. Comprising more than 48,000 lane miles of roadway — and not just the paved surfaces but also the curbs and gutters, sidewalks, storm drains, traffic signs, signals and lights that are necessary for functioning roadways — the local street and road network provides access to jobs, homes, schools, shopping and recreation.  Yet the condition of this asset is fair at best and its future is precarious.

In Street Fight, MTC takes a close-up look at the challenges facing streets and roads around the region, from simple wear and tear to persistent funding pressures; and spotlights some of the ways local governments and others are working to meet these challenges.  Video reports from major cities such as San Jose and Oakland, from suburban communities like El Cerrito, and from rural Sonoma County quite literally provide a street-level view of the ongoing battle for better Bay Area pavement.

Read this special six-part, multimedia report here:

San Jose’s network of local streets is the biggest of any Bay Area government. As with many other Bay Area cities, much of San Jose’s street system was built in the 1950s and 1960s. Watch as Transportation Director Hans Larsen takes a ride around his city and describes the uphill climb he and his staff must make to restore the system’s health and guide it toward a thriving, vigorous and productive middle age. 

Older pavement, higher rainfall and heavier traffic loads all come together in rural Sonoma County, where PCI scores consistently have ranked among the very lowest of any Bay Area jurisdiction. Watch as Craig Harrison of Save Our Sonoma Roads guides a tour near his Sonoma Mountain Road home and describes “an interesting problem…and very complicated.” 

El Cerrito chose to tackle the complicated problem of pavement maintenance head-on. Four years later, the suburban Contra Costa County city had boosted its pavement scores from near the bottom of the pack to among the Bay Area’s best. See what happened when El Cerrito voters dug into their own pockets to improve the city’s streets and sidewalks. 

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