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Crews battle San Francisco potholes, backed by fresh millions

Potholes and uneven streets in San Francisco are a nightmare for drivers and Muni bus riders, who have to endure bumpy rides on streets filled with potholes.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee recommitted his efforts on getting The City’s streets in tip-top shape in order to increase its Pavement Condition Index score, or PCI score, a measure used by the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission to track the condition of pavement in Bay Area cities and counties.

Lee said on Monday that he will commit $89.5 million pay for pothole repairs, repaving of streets, striping and other safety measures:

“Road pavement, bridge repair, ferry terminal expansions … all of this has to do with our willingness to prioritize.”

Lee’s investment over the next two years to fix the streets is part of his proposed two-year capital budget.

According to data from the MTC, San Francisco had an average score of 69 in 2016, which identifies the pavement as “fair,” but “distressed” and requires a “combination of rehabilitation and preventive maintenance.”

San Francisco’s goal is to hit an average PCI score of 70 by 2025. The good news for The City is that the score has been inching up by one point every year since 2012.

Persistent winter rainstorms have put a damper on some of The City’s streets, giving way for more potholes, said Lee.

While Public Works has addressed more than 13,000 potholes throughout The City, Lee said making those short-term repairs will not last long:

“You’ve got to get into, what we call in the pavement index, the underground layer, to make sure we protect that.”

Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru said he agreed with Lee that it will take more than just crews filling potholes in The City:

“Even though we had filled a record number of potholes this year because of the rains, really building the streets is what makes the difference.”

The City has been able to repave more than 700 blocks a year, thanks in part of the 2011 voter-approved $248 million Road Repaving and Street Safety Bond.

Public Works crews were also on hand Monday to start repaving 29th Avenue between Fulton and Cabrillo streets. According to city data, the block has a PCI score of 46.

Angelina Yu, a legislative aide to Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, who represents District 1, said:

“When we do these repaving projects, it makes a huge difference for our cyclists, our drivers, and of course, our pedestrians.”

Public Works will pay close attention Fewer’s district in June with a dedicated crew to fill pothole requests submitted through SF311.

Rachel Gordon, a spokesperson for Public Works, said anyone either in the Richmond or any neighborhood, can submit a request for Public Works to fill potholes by calling 311 or using the SF311 mobile app.

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  1. Corvus Corax says:

    Jerold Chinn, your réportage is sadly deficient: if, as you proclaim in your wild hyperbole, SF streets are ‘a nightmare for drivers’ (cars being a major cause of the damage to streets), what do you think it is for bicyclists who risk injury and even death out there? Are you just ignorant of the danger potholes pose for cyclists, or are you one of the bike-haters that you make no mention of this?

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