Berkeley's streets have been decaying for the past several years - despite the passage of Measure M.
Street conditions are measured by the industry standard Pavement Condition Index or PCI.
Berkeley's average PCI is in the "at risk" group and has been falling for several years, despite regular cash infusions by voters.
- 1 The Great Public Works Failure of 2018
- 2 Maps of Street Conditions
- 3 Street Conditions by Functional Type
- 4 PCI distributions across condition classes
- 5 Streets classifications and distances in Berkeley
- 6 Street Classifications and Distances by Council District
- 7 Mileage by District and Street Type
- 8 The cost of neglect
- 9 How do other cities perform?
- 10 Useful Links
The Great Public Works Failure of 2018
In 2018, zero streets were paved in Berkeley. Staff got the planned projects out to bid "too late" and contractor costs were too high, as most were already booked.
No one was held accountable as a result of this error.
Maps of Street Conditions
With these maps, Berkeleypedia readers can navigate to the street level to visualize the conditions of stress in each PCI cohort as of 2017.
- Berkeley streets in failed condition (PCI 0-24): "Extremely rough pavement that needs complete reconstruction."
- Berkeley streets in poor condition (PCI 25-49): "Pavement showing extensive distress and requiring major rehabilitation or reconstruction."
- Berkeley streets in at risk condition (PCI 50-59): "Deteriorated pavement requiring immediate attention, including rehabilitative work."
- Berkeley streets in fair condition (PCI 60-69): "Pavement at the low end of this range is significantly distressed and may require a combination of rehabilitation and preventive maintenance."
- Berkeley streets in good condition (PCI 70-79): "Pavement requiring mostly preventive maintenance and showing only low levels of distress."
- Berkeley streets in very good or excellent condition (PCI 80-100): "Newly constructed for resurfaced pavement with few signs of distress."
The raw data (File:Street-data-by-PCI.pdf) for these visualizations are also available.
Street Conditions by Functional Type
Berkeley's average PCI in 2017 was 56, or "At Risk." Here is how that average breaks down across functional types:
|Functional Class||Percentage of Streets in this class||PCI||Condition|
|Proposed; Private; Non-County||0.1%||91||Very Good|
PCI distributions across condition classes
As in the maps above, PCI is classified in six tranches on a scale ranging from failed to very_good or excellent.
The city's stated objective is to achieve a PCI of 70 ("good") or better, which is 15 below the average in Dublin.
58% of the city surface area is below this target of a 70 PCI.
Total surface area by class
Streets classifications and distances in Berkeley
Berkeley is divided into eight council districts and has a total of approximately 525 miles of streets in its network, which are classfied as follows:
|Category||Miles||Examples in this category|
|CONNECTOR||15.5376214533767||Highway on/off ramps, Piedmont Ave|
|HIGHWAY||22.7957166556029||I80, I580, HWY 24, HWY 13|
|MAJOR||88.6673309659839||Adeline, Stanford, San Pablo, Arlington, Shattuck|
|MINOR||384.665926953138||Wildcat Canyon, Colusa, Sacramento|
|PEDESTRIAN||12.907573200303||Rose Walk, Marina docks, The Uplands Path|
|Private Road||0.10056004974888||Essex Way|
As one might expect, not all of these roadways are maintained by the city: Caltrans, for example, bears responsibility for the highways and on/off ramps.
Street Classifications and Distances by Council District
Method for assigning streets to districts
The city provides "shape files" for the entire street network and for the council districts. These are complete and authoritative. The street network is composed of very fine grained segments: essentially chains of lines connecting one point (latitude, longitude) to another. Streets that bear the same name but which are broken appear as separate entries.
To assign street distances to a council district, we employ the following method:
For each segment:
- if the start and end points are both in side the polygon of a council district, it is assigned to that district
- if the start/end cross districts, the distance of that segment is split between the two districts. This is an approximation, however the distances are relatively short
- if a segment point is on the city limits, it is assigned to the district polygon that is nearest to that segment's point, and then the preceding rules are applied.
Mileage between points is calculated using geodesic distance.
Total Mileage by District
|District||Total Mileage||Total Mileage Excluding Highways|
Pavement Condition by District
The figures shown here are for the roads we are able to map using the city's very inconsistent PCI data, which is quite difficult to connect to the well-maintained street network data set, despite extensive manual curation. We therefore work only in percentages to give directional indication of pavement conditions by district.
Note that the city's stated goal is a PCI of 70 (good or better). The final column shows the % of streets that are below this target.
Percentages here are calculated in terms of linear mileage and do not account for width. Hill districts generally have narrower streets.
|District||% Failed||% Poor||% At Risk||% Fair||% Good||% Very Good||% Below Goal|
Mileage by District and Street Type
The cost of neglect
Cities that maintain roads in good condition spend far less annually than cities that allow streets to fail before doing more costly repairs. This chart illustrates how costs increase as PCI is allowed to fall.
How do other cities perform?
Oakland has had similar issues and now has Measure KK funds to address their issue. Oakland's Plan
El Cerrito made a major push to improve its street conditions from a similar range as Berkeley's and is now one of the top three cities in the region.
Dublin runs at an average PCI of 85, which is approximately thirty points higher than Berkeley.
In Sept. 2018 the Metropolitan Transportation Commission put out a report on Bay Area Roads at Risk .
Much more regional information is available at Vital Signs.
The 2018 California Statewide Needs Assessment is here