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Davis roads worst in region; council subcommittee to seek solutions

365体育官网The city of Davis has the worst roads in the region, with a pavement condition index — the standard by which the quality of streets and bike paths is gauged — continuing to decline in recent years, according to a report presented to the City Council on Tuesday.

365体育官网The city’s roads PCI of 57 is worse than virtually every city in the area, including that of Winters, Woodland, West Sacramento, Dixon and Sacramento.

The city’s bike paths are even worse off, with a PCI of 52, according to the 2019 Pavement Management Report.

In 2015, the PCI for Davis streets was 63; in 2012, the PCI for bike baths was 58.

According to the PCI scale, the city’s roads and bike paths currently are in the “fair” category but perilously close to dropping into the “poor” category if they fall below 50.

Already, nearly 30 percent of the city’s streets are considered poor with PCIs below 50 and more than 46 percent of the city’s bike paths.

About a quarter of both streets and bike paths are in good condition.

Looking for answers

Council members acknowledged the depth of the problem on Tuesday evening and appointed Mayor Pro Tem Gloria Partida and Councilman Dan Carson to a subcommittee that will work with city staff and possibly outside consultants to identify ways to increase annual funding for roadways.

The funding need is enormous, however.

365体育官网Simply maintaining the current PCI of the city’s roads will require $75.9 million over the next 10 years, according to the report, plus an additional $22.2 million over the next 10 years to maintain the current bike path PCI. In other words, to maintain what are already the worst roadways in the region will cost the city nearly $100 million over the next decade and the amount of deferred maintenance will continue to grow at the same time.

365体育官网Meanwhile, if the city sticks to its existing budget, allocating $4.3 million per year for streets and $765,000 per year for bike paths, in 10 years the PCI for streets will drop to 49 and for bike paths to 38 while deferred maintenance costs will double.

In accepting a role on the subcommittee, Carson noted that the city “got into this situation over many, many years and it will take some years to get out of this situation.”

Focusing on finding revenue to fix roads and bike paths will be key.

365体育官网“Some of the work that we need to do to address these rather daunting numbers is just the things we’ve talked about, dealing with the city’s overall fiscal shortfalls, which we last calculated at $8 million but know surely now is more than that,” said Carson.

“Our pursuit of economic development, the work we’re doing right now on the downtown plan, the innovation strategy we’re trying to implement, that is part and parcel of trying to solve this, as well as the efforts we have made to try to constrain city costs which I think have also been laudable.”

365体育官网Carson tempered expectations that the subcommittee will return to the council “with a grand solution for everything,” noting that “we know the work we need to do.”

“But I think there are some interim things we can come forward with, start to move the ball, demonstrate that we really are trying to address this problem and I think it’s important that we start right away because… every day we delay, the cost of repairing the pavement goes up over time.”

Partida also agreed to be part of the effort.

365体育官网She said she was surprised at first to see the data showing Davis roads are worse than those in every other local community, but noted that Davis also has many more miles of bike paths than those other cities.

365体育官网“I think that is something to consider,” Partida said. “We have the extra burden of the bike paths that we have to maintain and that are important to our community.”

Miles to go

All told, the city of Davis has 51.7 miles of bike paths, in addition to 165.8 miles of roads.

365体育官网Speaking during the public comment period Tuesday evening was Elaine Roberts Musser, who called the state of the city’s roads and paths “abysmal.”

365体育官网“An elderly friend of mine has stopped walking on the bike paths because she has fallen twice due to the uneven pavement,” Musser said.

“Davis roads are worse than Woodland, West Sacramento, Winters and Dixon. This is shameful,” she added. “I realize this problem does not originate with the City Council and has been the result of many years of neglected maintenance.”

365体育官网But the reality, Musser said, “is our roads, bike paths and pedestrian walkways have not been maintained as they should.

“It is either pay me now or pay me much more later on down the road, pardon the pun. For every dollar spent on roads now, something like $10 is saved that will have to be spent in the future to fix things.

“I strongly urge the City Council to support staff’s recommendation to identify opportunities and mechanisms to increase annual funding allocations for roadway maintenance,” she said.

365体育官网Also addressing the council was Nico Fauchier-Magnan, president of Bike Davis, who urged the council to consider how proposed development projects could worsen the situation if the infrastructure needed for those projects can’t be maintained by the existing tax base.

He noted that much like pensions owed to city employees, infrastructure — including roads — “is very much a financial liability.”

“Those roads, we can’t sell them, we can’t get revenue from them, but we have to maintain them, to spend money on them because our residents depend on them,” said Fauchier-Magnan.

“I think that should inform how we look at new proposed projects and developments and we should take a very rational and mathematical approach and say, ‘Is this new development going to bring enough income to cover the future liabilities that come with it?’”

365体育官网Several council members bemoaned the failure of Measure I two years ago, a parcel tax which would have raised $3 million annually for roads and bike paths.

“Unfortunately, 57 percent of voters said yes,” noted Mayor Brett Lee, “but we needed to get to two-thirds.”

365体育官网But Measure I wouldn’t have even provided the funding needed to maintain the current PCI, noted Councilman Will Arnold, “just to show folks how big the problem is.

365体育官网“We all recognize the weight of this and the needs here,” he added.

365体育官网Now Partida and Carson, along with city staff, will be tasked with coming up with solutions.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy.

 

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