Despite heavy investment, S.F. streets still underperforming 

click to enlarge A city report finds San Francisco roads lag other major cities. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner file photo
  • A city report finds San Francisco roads lag other major cities.

San Francisco has spent heavily on street resurfacing projects, yet its roads are still in lousy shape.

Out of seven cities surveyed in a new report by the City Controller’s Office, San Francisco spends the most money per capita on resurfacing and reconstruction projects, but the condition of our streets is still the second worst.

Only about 58 percent of roadways are in good condition, a mark that only bests Oakland and trails Sacramento by 20 points, the report said. San Francisco spends $59 per capita on each lane-mile of street. Overall, The City spends $49 million annually on street upkeep, the report said, while Sacramento spends $9 million.

Gloria Chan, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works, which oversees street maintenance, said The City’s roads have been woefully underfunded historically. It has only been in the past five years that San Francisco has invested heavily in maintenance, which is why The City’s per capita spending is now so high.

“The streets deteriorated to the point where it cost a lot of money simply to catch them up,” she said.

The crumbling condition of San Francisco streets prompted city officials to put a $248 million bond before voters in November. That initiative, which passed with more than a two-thirds majority, included $148 million for street repaving.

The Department of Public Works, the agency in charge of street maintenance, had yet to review the report and was unable to comment, spokeswoman Gloria Chan said.

The controller’s report, released Thursday, also detailed other aspects of Public Works’ operations, including sidewalk cleanliness, graffiti abatement and tree maintenance.

Along with Oakland and Sacramento, San Francisco was compared with Seattle; Vancouver, British Columbia; Chicago; and Washington, D.C.

The benchmark report is the first of several studies the City Controller’s Office expected to release on how San Francisco stacks up with other cities.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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