After 37 years, street gets due

It has been 37 years since sleepy Valdez Avenue near The City’s Monterey Heights neighborhood was repaved. But with a crew of 12, the San Francisco Public Works Department started its $15 million quest for pothole-free living on the deteriorated street Wednesday.

Valdez Avenue and a “substantial number” of other residential streets have not been maintained for years, developing bumpy conditions and sparking complaints, DPW officials said.

Wednesday’s paving of Valdez Avenue was the first time in nearly 20 years that street repaving was paid for out of The City’s operating budget.

Many consider the chore a basic part of government service, and San Francisco has paid $42 million in legal settlement due to damage to people and property caused by the long-neglected streets, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said. The demonstration project came two days after Mayor Gavin Newsom announced $135 million for infrastructure upgrades in his proposed 2006-07 budget.

“This is the first year in 20 years that The City is going to meet its paving needs. There has not been a political constituency that advocates for potholes,” said Elsbernd, who worked to secure the $15 million for street improvements.

In addition to residential streets, such as Valdez, major corridors will also be repaired in 2006. Parts of Valencia Street, 28th Avenue, 30th Street, McAllister Street, Mission Street and others are all slated for work.

kwilliamson@examiner.com

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