Berkeley streets remain ‘at risk,’ according to Metropolitan Transportation Commission

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The city of Berkeley allocated $23 million toward paving its streets, according to its Adopted Capital Improvement Plan for the 2018-19 fiscal year, but according to Mayor Jesse Arreguín, rough areas of local roads have not been paved in 2018.

Some of the worst-affected areas, such as Panoramic Way, were intended to be paved, according to a 2018-19 budget report issued by the city. Before the 2012 passage of Measure M, a bond measure that would allocate $30 million to green projects and street improvements, the budget for such improvements was $3.4 million. The amount proved insufficient to both maintain the current pavement condition index, or PCI, and prevent future deteriorations to the street network, as first reported by Berkeleyside.

Every two to three years, the streets of Berkeley are subject to inspection, according to the 2018-19 budget report. Such an inspection is part of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s pavement management systems utilized, which identify repair needs and assign a PCI for each street.

PCI is a standard measurement of street conditions that uses a rating system from zero to 100, with zero being the worst condition and 100 being the best condition. Berkeley’s average PCI of 57 in 2017 is indicative of streets that are considered “at risk.” In this condition, pavements are “deteriorated and require immediate attention including rehabilitative work,” according to a report released in September by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The report highlights the fact that the PCI in Berkeley is even lower than the Bay Area average of 67.

On top of this, data pulled from Berkeley’s examination of its streets in 2017 points out that about 60 segments of streets have zero ratings.

“It is unfortunate that a culmination of multiple factors has led to this situation, and we are rebidding and will moving forward with paving projects in 2019,” Arreguín said in an email. The funds have not been reappropriated and will be spent on our paving plan. It is imperative that we make our streets safe and accessible for all, including for people such as myself who do not drive but instead walk, bike, and/or use public transit.”

According to the aforementioned budget report, the primary purpose of the street rehabilitation program is to “maintain a safe surface conveyance system in the public right-of-way for vehicles, bicycles, transit and pedestrians.” In fiscal years 2018 and 2019, the city adopted a goal of making repairs to related infrastructures such as storm drains, curbs, gutters and sidewalks. This would include the resurfacing of approximately 8.7 miles within the city.

“I want to thank the voters of Berkeley for their generous support of previous bonds to address our aging infrastructure, in addition to their overwhelming endorsement of Measure R,” Arreguín said in an email. “This advisory measure will move forward Vision 2050, which will set up the framework for creating a bold plan to address our infrastructure needs in an environmentally cognizant way over the next 30 years.”

Contact Alexa VanHooser at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @dailycalexa.