SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Hundreds of miles of San Jose streets are getting a face-lift this fiscal year. On Monday, city leaders announced the biggest repaving project in the city’s history.
Rarely have San Joseans been so happy to see streets in disrepair, but a dose of temporary pain was delivered early in the morning as one of 11 contractors begins the arduous task or repaving every city street over the next nine years.
“I’m so happy to see the roadways repaved and new. Because it will bring up the value of the neighborhood a lot,” said East San Jose resident Tony Tran.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and a host of city leaders gathered for a midday news conference.
“Pardon the dust. We’ve got a lot of construction underway,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo, (D) San Jose.
Officials said voter support for two ballot measures, and Senate Bill 1 allows full funding of this repaving program. It’s a far cry from five years ago, according to Transportation Director John Ristow.
“Back in 2013, the city was scraping together every nickel and dime we could get to pave 29 miles of road,” he said.
The current program will pave 280 miles of major and residential streets this fiscal year, and 1,400 miles of streets by its completion in 2028.
“For our poorest families, this could mean the difference between paying for a car repair or putting food on the table,” said Magdalena Carrasco, a San Jose City Councilwoman representing the 5th District. Added Prof. Kelly Snider of the San Jose State University Dept. of Urban & Regional Planning, “This is probably a little bit of smoothing the frosting over the crumbling cake. But on the other hand, if you don’t do that, you lose the trust of people in their government.”
While most San Joseans are pleased to know their streets will be repaved, some are asking for more, to help increase safety.
“The city can add speed bumps to the street to slow down the traffic,” said Tran, who lives in the 3rd district. His representative on the city council, Raul Peralez, responded to the request, saying, “We go out, we study and we analyze to see how bad the speeding really is. See how many accidents and near accidents. And then come back and see how many traffic-calming measures we can put in place.”
Repaving will continue until the return of rainy season in the Fall, as the city works to shed the perception some have of the worst streets in the nation.