SAN DIEGO — San Diego City Council discussed and voted on recommendations about street repairs from the San Diego County Grand Jury.
The grand jury’s report, released in June titled “When Will My Street Be Paved?”, found that the city’s street maintenance needs have not been fully-funded.
“These grand jury reports are an opportunity for transparency,” Councilmember Joe LaCava said.
Councilmember Kent Lee said he hears about the poor condition of San Diego roads from constituents very often, and that statement was echoed by several other city council members.
City council voted unanimously to adopt some of the recommendations to address road concerns and respond to the report in November.
“The condition of San Diego’s streets has long been a focus of the San Diego County Grand Jury (GJ). In 2006/2007 the GJ report San Diego City Streets “If the City Continues Down the Current Road, Soon There Will Be No Roads to Continue Down” revealed that, “[A] lack of funding by the City for repair and maintenance of streets for several years has resulted in a deplorable situation.”4 Adding, “A very poor showing for America’s Finest City,” the grand jury report from 2023 noted.
The report includes three findings and seven recommendations directed to the mayor and city council.
A representative, Jordan Moore, from the Office of the Independent Budget Analyst detailed the information and responses.
Finding 1: Since a survey in 2015, the city street maintenance needs were not fully-funded. The council agreed.
Finding 2: Overall Condition Index (OCI) scores have decreased since the previous 2015 street assessment. The council agreed.
Finding 3: The data is not inclusive of all city streets. The city partially disagreed with this statement and said the spreadsheet noted by the grand jury only includes information on street projects that are planned or completed.
Recommendation 23-105: Encourage passing an ordinance as part of the yearly budget process that commits money to be used for street maintenance and repair. The city said this will not be implemented because it is not warranted and limits the city’s ability to adjust to funding needs.
Recommendation 23-106: Encourage appropriating funds to conduct an updated pavement condition assessment beginning in FY 2027 and reoccurring every four year. Council said this request is reasonable, but limits the city’s ability of making decisions in the future and needs further analysis.
Recommendation 23-107: Ensure all streets in the city are featured on the website tool and have up-to-date paving information. This recommendation has been implemented, and now they are working to make the website more user-friendly, which should be completed by the end of the fiscal year.
Recommendation 23-108: Develop a comprehensive five-year plan which includes a projected maintenance schedule for all streets in San Diego. The city said this will be implemented.
Recommendation 23-109: Task the Transportation Dept with reviewing information that’s available and ensure its accessibility from the city’s webpage. The city said this has been implemented.
Recommendation 23-110: Ensuring the city website has an easy-to-find link to the comprehensive rolling 5-year plan for street maintenance which is updated at least quarterly. The city said this will be implemented in the future, but would be updated on an annual basis, instead of quarterly.
Recommendation 23-111: Consider a cost-benefit study to bring the infrastructure for street repair and maintenance in-house, similar to trash collection. The city said this has not been implemented, but will be in the future.
Some council members were hesitant to commit to doing an updated pavement assessment every four years due to money constraints.
“I would like to see the city do a condition assessment every four years, we also want to help seniors who are renting and struggling,” Whitburn said. “I’m hesitant to box ourselves in to the funding requirements”
The city’s roads include more than 2,600 miles of asphalt streets. According to the city, slurry seal paving costs the city about 130,000 per mile and asphalt overlay reconstruction costs about $800,000 per mile.
“High quality streets are essential,” Councilmember Stephen Whitburn added.
Some residents spoke via phone during public comment, frustrated the city was not planning to commit to a year-after-year policy and upset that changes have not already been made to addressing road repairs faster.
“I just don’t understand how you don’t have funding for roads,” one person said during public comment.
The city said they will have a five-year plan on further addressing the roads by June.