BAY AREA, Calif. (BCN) — Although roads in some Bay Area communities have shown vast improvement, the region’s roads remain in rough shape, according to a recent pavement quality report. The Bay Area’s 44,000 lane miles of streets and roads received a pavement condition index (PCI) score of 67 out of 100 for the sixth consecutive year from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
PCI scores are calculated on a three-year moving average and scaled on levels from excellent to failed. Roads that are newly built or resurfaced streets that show little to no distress receive PCI scores in the 90s.
A score in the 80s is considered “very good,” with roads showing slight to moderate distress. PCI scores of 25 to 49 are considered in poor condition. Anything below 25 is a “failed” road. Streets with a PCI score in the 60s are worn to the point that rehabilitation is needed to prevent “rapid deterioration.”
MTC officials said those streets are at the “most critical stage” because major repairs can cost five to 10 times more than routine maintenance. The region’s three largest cities reflect how the most recent pavement quality data is a “mixed bag,” with San Francisco receiving a “good” score of 74, San Jose receiving a “fair” score of 67 and Oakland receiving an “at risk” score of 53, according to the MTC.
San Jose and Oakland both improved their three-year moving scores by one point each, which leaders attribute to the use of funds from Senate Bill 1’s state gas tax, which allots funding to local cities and counties for basic road maintenance, rehabilitation and critical safety projects. That was especially true in Oakland, where the PCI one-year score jumped nine points from a “poor” score of 49 in 2020 to 58 last year.
“We’re proud to be picking up the pace for implementing our equity-driven paving plan,” said MTC commissioner and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “We’re delivering swift improvements with an approach that is recognized as a national leader in directing resources where they are most needed to provide all communities with the smooth, safe streets they deserve.”
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The Marin County city of Larkspur was the only city to outpace Oakland’s year-over-year improvement, recording an 11-point increase to 76 last year from 65 in 2020. Larkspur had registered one-year PCI scores in the “poor” range as recently as 2017 but has passed local sales tax measures dedicated to rehabilitating the city’s streets.
Cupertino leads the region with a three-year moving average score of 84. Cities and areas that have also received rankings of “very good,” which MTC chair and Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza said is a regional goal, include Orinda, Palo Alto, Dublin, Brentwood and unincorporated Solano County. Pacifica once again recorded the lowest PCI score regionwide. It recorded a PCI score of 42 for 2019-2021.
The only other jurisdictions with three-year moving PCI scores in the “poor” category are Petaluma, Sebastopol and unincorporated Napa County.
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