Why don’t our roads seem to be getting better? Roadshow

Q: What is your insight regarding the state of our roads? Several years ago we passed a higher gas tax with the promise of urgently needed resurfacing and repairs being made, but I don’t see any significant improvements. If things were put on hold due to the pandemic, I understand, but now I would expect a doubling of efforts to actually get something we can notice done.

Mark Milioto

A: Actually, I’m more encouraged now than ever. The pothole repair cavalry has been out and reinforcements are en route. Most neighborhood streets and sidewalks are not in the best of shape, said John-the-MTC-GUY, “but neither are they in the worst of shape.”

Bay Area streets and roads are considered to be in fair condition and the goal is to boost them into the “very good” category over the next several years.

The good news is that the higher gas tax money that cities and counties began receiving a couple of years ago has helped prevent sliding backward. The bad news is that progress has been very slow over the past two decades and there is a long, steep climb to get where we want to be.

San Francisco tops the list of major cities in the Bay Area whose streets are in good shape, while San Jose roads are rated fair, and Oakland lags near the bottom. Palo Alto, Cupertino and Dublin have the smoothest roads in the region.

As of June 30, more than $15 billion in extra gas tax funding has been invested across the state. Higher gas taxes have allowed Caltrans to fix an average of 249 bridges and repave 2,100 lane miles annually. That’s a 39% increase.

New pavement has been installed on Interstate 880 near the Oakland Coliseum, Highway101 into San Francisco, Highway 85 in Mountain View, and Interstate 280 in the Sunnyvale area.

Q: I was appalled when running errands. I was behind a car when the driver tossed a drink cup out their window.  Later at a stop light, the passenger in a car ahead of me in opened his door and dropped a pizza box on the road. What is the matter with people? No wonder our roads are so trashy!

Can I use video from my dash cam to report these people?

Rosalie Govek, San Jose

A: Appalled is too kind. Dash camera video can be turned over to police for crash information, but not likely for trash scofflaws.

Q: A little chuckle for your morning from a site called “Sarcastic Momma.”

“If you don’t swear while driving, then you aren’t paying attention to the road.”

David Giroux

A: Children, cover your ears.

Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, or contact him at mrroadshow@bayareanewsgroup.com or 408-920-5335.


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Author: Gary Richards