NOV 2012 – City News by Council Member Jon Harrison

Improving Redlands streets residents’ highest priority

By Council Member Jon Harrison

Among the most crucial factors to Redlands’ economic vitality and quality of life is the condition of the City’s infrastructure and especially its streets. In a survey conducted in 2010, Redlands residents by a wide margin identified improving the condition of the City’s streets as their highest priority.

Unfortunately, for the past several decades, the funding available for maintenance of the City’s streets has not kept up with the needs. A comprehensive engineering analysis performed this year to assess the overall condition of the City’s streets determined Redlands streets are among the worst in Southern California.  On a standard infrastructure rating scale known as Pavement Condition Index (PCI), that ranks the condition of pavement from 1 (failed) to 100 (excellent),Redlands streets averaged a “poor” ranking of 53. This ranks the City’s streets below those of the State ofCaliforniaaverage of 68 and the San Bernardino County average of 70.

Relying on limited Measure I half-cent sales tax funds from the county of approximately $800,000 a year and other miscellaneous sources, the City has been unable to perform even the basic infrastructure maintenance to keep up with the rate of degradation. And every year that the City’s streets fall into further disrepair, the cost simply to maintain the good streets we have increases exponentially.

Aside from the irritation toRedlands residents, bad roads are bad for business. Attracting quality businesses, retaining existing businesses and bringing new customers to Redlands’ retail and commercial areas depends in large part on quality roads.

Last month, the City Council approved an ambitious plan to repair two-thirds of Redlands streets, including those serving its shopping and commercial areas, within five years. The Pavement Accelerated Repair Implementation Strategy (PARIS), relies on scientific data and engineering and a matrix of various criteria to prioritize street repairs. Many of those criteria directly address the City’s business community. Some of those include:

  • Average Daily Traffic, which accounts for 15 percent of the matrix. Streets along the City’s business centers, retail and commercial areas, typically have a high ADT count;
  • Population centers, which account for 14 percent of the matrix;
  • Commercial/Business/Retail areas – 10 percent;
  • Bus routes and rail stops – 8 percent;

In addition, arterials and collector streets and those roads in poorer shape are also placed higher in the matrix.

All of these factors add up to put many of Redlands business areas high on the priority list for pavement rehabilitation and maintenance.

The money to fund these improvements will come from leveraging payments to the pavement program from utilities, including the City’s own Solid Waste fund, to offset the specific share of damage caused to the City’s streets. By issuing $21.5 million in debt and frontloading the repairs over five years, the streets will pay less for the pavement treatment, halt the continued degradation and reduce the overall cost of repairing the City’s streets by millions of dollars. The debt would be paid off within 10 years and the continuing resources would allow the City to maintain the streets and provide additional repairs into the foreseeable future.

The City Council will consider the first reading of a resolution to implement the PARIS plan at the Nov. 20 meeting.

For more information on the PARISprogram, please visit the City’s website at http://ci.redlands.ca.us/clerk/2012staffreports/120918L2.pdf.

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