Phil Ting's picture

how many potholes did you run over via car or bike on your way to work today?

MikeSFO's picture

Improving the condition of our city streets

I find it revealing that improving the horrible condition of our city streets is not even a topic.  My foreign visitors to SF worse comment about our city is the terrible potholes and condition of our streets.  I have traveled most of the USA and much of the world cities and have found San Francisco to have the worse city streets of any developed city.  Do you agree?  Should this not also be addressed?

gcotter's picture

Potholes are a real problem

Welcome home Mike!  I agree: the potholes suck.  As you know, I have a scooter and I find it really unsafe to ride on some streets - I'm so busy looking down at the street to avoid pot holes that I can't pay enough attention to the traffic.

And I agree about travel.  The streets in Israel, Jordan and even Cuba are in far better condition than in SF.  Pretty sad.

I have started to call 311 and report the worst of them.  Not when the whole street needs to be repaved, but there are a couple places on Folsom St near 20th street that get recurring potholes and 311 can usually get those addressed pretty quickly - probably because it can be dome quickly.  I have noticed recently that some of the really bad streets are getting repaved.  Maybe government stimulus money is finally getting into play.

Take advantage of 311 to report specific problems, but as for overall conditions I don't know what to other than wait for an election and vote for a new Supervisor that cares about city infrastructure.

Phil Ting's picture

how to fund potholes

Street paving should be a core part of our budget, but its not nearly the priority it deserves.  Because we have limited resources, my question is what would you be willing to cut from in the budget to fund street paving?  Human services?  Public safety? Rec & Park?  or should we try and pass another bond like we did a few years ago to fund street paving?

What do you think>?

gcotter's picture

No new bonds

San Francisco has one of the largest per capita taxes in the nation.  NO NEW TAXES and that includes Bonds!

And heartless as it may sound,  I would trim human services and other areas to fund all of the city infrastructure needs.  It isn't so much that we give organizations too much money, but we give money to too many separate groups.  We need to support the fight against AIDS, but how many different AIDS organizations exist and get public funding?  We need to support the arts, but how many different groups get arts grants? 

We need to help San Francisco's homeless, but we give money to too many different groups and we do not have any residency tests that enable us to help only SF homeless - instead we help homeless from all over the bay area, the state and the country.  Just because they manage to get to SF while homeless doesn't make us responsible for them.  Sorry, but if you were living in LA and became homeless there, it doesn't mean you are entitled to help in SF - other than a one-way ticket back to LA.

Cruel, heartless, yes.  Fair to SF taxpayers, also yes.  Lose your job, your apartment your income while you are housed in SF and sure we'll help you out, but I would cut the strings to any group that doesn't have a way to only help people who were residents of SF when they became homeless. Proof of residence - car registration, voter registration, utility bills, some official documentation that proves a person actually is a San Franciscan.

We have a huge budget and our board of supervisors want to spend it on monitoring Happy Meal toys.  Hello?  Stop spending our money on Nanny laws and start spending it on city infrastructure.  And that includes Board Meetings and Hearings.  Time is Money.  Spend that time discussing how to address pot holes and stop wasting BOS meetings on all Nanny laws.  Your time is paid for by our taxes.

And cutting our board of supervisors from eleven down to 5 or 7 would go a long way to streamlining city management and would free up a lot of money for other city infrastructure needs.

ConnorO'Gara's picture

Maybe Potholes should make the top 10?


Doing some basic investigation work in the city budget docs available online, I believe our current 'Sewage & street repair' budget is a paltry of $17 million.  Out of a $6.5 BILLION dollar budget this represents  0.26%.  I'd like to point out back in 2007-08 when we had a growing tax base, we spent even less--only $11 million.  This means we have years (if not decades) of deferred maintenance.

Road repair does not have to be more important than police, fire, or schools.  But couldn't it be in the top 10 priorities of our municipal government? Apparently, because roads do not have a union representation, it is not.

I don't really care where we cut (muni salaries would be a start) but creating public debt obligations because our politicians have neglected the most basic of municipal responsibilities over the past decades is unacceptable.

We must live within our means!

MikeSFO's picture

Pot Holes are a BIG problem

I agree with everyone's comments above on this subject.  Periodic re-paving and maintenance of all city streets USED to be an integral and major part of the basic annual budget up through the Dianne Fienstein mayorship.  After that time it was decided that street repair could be 'deferred' and that sum of money taken or temporarily borrowed and used to fund other ongoing and increasing expenditures.  This became the norm, to where we now have decades of deferred street repair.  I like that the city wants to attract the America's Cup and other events to our city, but let's repair our streets so that both those of us that live here and use them daily, as well as the tourists that talk about the condition of our streets to other potential tourists, will be able to enjoy moving around our city.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137