Largely due to Measure "Y"
funding, the City of San Luis Obispo has been able to implement an
ambitious Pavement Maintenance Plan (PMP) which was adopted by the City
Council on April 14, 1998. Each year, usually during the summer, Public
Works performs significant street maintenance with the aid of a private
contractor. Because determining the scope of this paving work is a
complex process, it naturally generates questions from our community.
Placing leveling course and compacting in preparation for
pavement reinforcing grid.
How do we determine which streets to pave?
There are a number of
factors that determine which streets will be worked on for the year,
- The street
location within the city
- The number of
cars that use the street
- The streetís
- The budget
The City is divided into 9 pavement areas and work generally moves from
one area to another each year. That means if we worked on a street last
year, we probably won't be back there for 7 to 9 years. For the two
years prior to completing street paving, utility lines are replaced,
small pavement and sidewalk repairs are made, and sidewalk ramps are
installed. This is done to minimize cuts into new street pavement which
reduce its life. The core downtown area receives attention as
appropriate every year as its streets are heavily used and are central
to San Luis Obispo's tourist economy.
Check out our
Paving Area Map
to see how the City's
pavement areas are divided.
The City Council was clear in developing the program for street
maintenance; busy streets deserve more attention. This means that
regardless of what area we would normally be working in, a heavily
travelled street such as Madonna Road or Los Osos Valley Road may get
more attention more often.
This is probably the most difficult part of the City's program to
explain. Let's look at it this way:
Say you have
$1,000 to spend this year on pavement maintenance and here is a list of
streets you have that need maintenance:
- One (1) street
that is falling apart which will take $1,000 to restore to good
- Three (3)
streets that are so-so which will take $300 a piece to restore to
- And lastly,
seven (7) streets that are in pretty good shape. If you spend $100
on each of them, they will remain in good shape for another 10
So, if your goal is
to have as many good streets as you can for the next 10 years, how do
you spend the money?
The likely answer to this question by the City would be to spend $700 on
the streets that are in pretty good shape to prevent them from
deteriorating, and $300 on one of the so-so streets.
The City has many streets to maintain, and so must look at more than
just those that are bad to determine how to best spend the available
funds. Fortunately, we also have more than $1,000 to spend each year on
pavement maintenance, thanks to your support for this work! That means
we do eventually get around to the streets that are falling apart and
rebuild them. Once that happens, they are regularly sealed to keep them
in good shape.
The City typically spends between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 per year
on pavement maintenance. In 2012 and 2013 the City will spend an average
of $1,600,000 per year on paving projects.
Installing final asphalt surface as part of a street
Additional questions that arise include the following:
What is that black
stuff that gets painted on?
When a street is generally in decent condition with some cracks and
perhaps some areas of failure, the street is sealed with a product
called micro-surface to prevent more costly repairs down the road. Water
intrusion is a primary cause of street failure and micro-surfacing a
street keeps water from penetrating the surface. If micro-surface is
done on a regular basis, it can delay the reconstruction of any street
How important is
the Pavement Management Program?
Roadways are the backbone of all other services we need. Without them
emergency services such as police and fire protection cannot respond to
our needs. Without roadways simple needs like going to the grocery store
or the park could be more challenging for our residents. In essence,
good roads help us get to the things that we need and like to do.
The City has
maintained a good quality Pavement Management Program. Our program
incorporates the elements that are expected of successful pavement plans
- Review of
- Impact of
- Impact of varied
In 2011 the City
sustained 70% of our streets in good conditions which exceeds other
Cities, Counties and the State and a review of the Pavement Management
Program by a private consultant confirmed that the program is well
thought out and on track.
Do we always stick
to the schedule?
Unfortunately, that is not always possible. Although we do the best
we can to keep to the scheduled maintenance program, occasionally
something unexpected happens, such as emergency utility repairs in the
affected area or a shift in funds available, and the paving priorities
can change accordingly.
How has Measure
"Y" impacted our pavement management?
Since Measure "Y"
was approved in 2006, our community has invested over $7.5 million in
roadway maintenance. That's roughly 173 miles of a 12-foot travel lane!
projects are scheduled in the next several years?
For a list of paving projects scheduled for the next 5 years (2011-2016), see the City's
5-yr Paving Plan Map
The above information
is available as a brochure in
PDF format for saving.
For more questions
concerning the City's Pavement Management Program, contact the Public
Works Department at: 805.781.7200