Road conditions have declined in most communities in Marin County over the past year, and repairs will only get more expensive without action soon, according to a new report.
The report from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional planning and funding agency, annually rates the roads in the nine Bay Area counties based on the number of cracks, potholes, patches, d ruts and depressions. The report, known as the Pavement Condition Index, rates roads on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being a newly paved road.
Collectively, Marin County roads last year scored a score of 66, which is considered “fair” and indicates that the roads pose a significant risk of failure. The county received the same score in 2018 and 2019.
Marin’s score was the third lowest of the nine counties, above Napa at 56 and Sonoma at 55.
The region maintained a “fair” score of 67 for the fifth consecutive year.
Alfredo Pedroza, chairman of the Metropolitan Transport Commission, said the coronavirus pandemic halted some road works in 2020. While he said the state gasoline tax increase approved in 2017 by Bill 1 the Senate provided funds to “hold the line against deterioration”, the Bay Area roads are still well below the commission’s target score of around 85.
“The data gives us a real appreciation for the bay area’s road miles and a reminder of the age of much of our pavement,” said Pedroza, a Napa County supervisor.
Roads that score below 60 likely require major rehabilitation and eventual replacement, which can increase maintenance costs five to tenfold, according to the commission.
Of the 12 Marin jurisdictions in the report, the scores fell for seven: Belvedere, Fairfax, Ross, Novato, Corte Madera, Unincorporated Marin County and Sausalito. Scores improved for Tiburon, Mill Valley, Larkspur and San Anselmo. San Rafael’s score remained unchanged at 65.
Tiburon, Ross, Mill Valley and Belvedere were placed in the “good” category with scores over 70. They also have the lowest road miles in the county.
One notable community recognized in the report was the town of Larkspur. Once called by the commission in 2016 as having some of the worst roads in the Bay Area, Larkspur increased its score from 42 in 2017 to 59 in 2020. While the city‘s roads are still considered “at risk” , which means that most of them require major repairs, he is on track to improve his score to 70 and 80 in the years to come, said Julian Skinner, director of public works at Larkspur.
According to Skinner, voter adoption of Measure B in 2017 was instrumental in this improvement. She increased the city’s sales tax from half a percent to three-quarters percent to fund road repairs.
The measure has enabled the city to issue about $ 25 million in bonds to fund five years of repairs, which began in 2019. The city repavs about a fifth of its roads each year and has so far spent 13 million dollars on about 13 of the 25 miles. drive into town, Skinner said.
“We’re halfway there,” Skinner said. “We will be paving the last half of the streets next summer and some potentially the following summer.”
Another big improvement was seen at Mill Valley, which increased its score from 65 in 2018 to 73 in 2020, raising its roads from a “fair” to “good” rating. Voters in the city approved a parcel tax increase in 2016 to charge $ 266 per residence, increasing by 2% each year for 10 years.
Fairfax was the only community in Marin whose roads were classified as “at risk”. The city’s score fell from 60 in 2019, which is considered fair, to 58 last year.
Jonathon Goldman, the city’s acting director of public works, declined to be interviewed about the scores on Thursday. He referred to recent project updates provided to city council on Wednesday, including plans to award construction contracts for the repaving of streets in March.
A copy of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Pavement Quality Report is online at bit.ly/3lq6okL.
Sea route scores
Road quality scores for Marin County jurisdictions in 2020. The score is: failed, 0-24; poor, 25-49; at risk, 50-59; fair, 60-69; good, 70-79; very good, 80-89; excellent: 90-100.
Marin County (aggregate): 66
Corte Madera: 66
Larks foot: 59
Mill Valley: 73
San Anselm: 68
San Rafael: 65
Unincorporated Marine: 65
Source: Pavement condition index from the Metropolitan Transport Commission 2020