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San Francisco roads deemed worst in nation again

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What we have known all along

A downtown San Francisco intersection at night. zhu difeng

Once again the Washington DC-based transit research group TRIP declared San Francisco and Oakland together to have the worst roads in the entire country.

While this may be something of a vindicating moment for Bay Area drivers who have known this for eons, it’s a grim day when road watchers afford even Los Angeles’s famously terrible blacktop more palatable scores than our own.

(They’re the second worst this year, another repeat performance.)

Before continuing, it’s worth noting that most of TRIP’s funding comes from the likes of insurance companies and construction unions—groups that do stand to gain directly from increased road maintenance spending.

But the actual data comes from the Federal Highway Administration, who in turn get it from local agencies.

Road conditions are measured via something called the International Roughness Index, a mathematical formula devised in a 1981 experiment on Brazilian roads that measures the vibrations of a single wheel.

Last year, TRIP deemed 74 percent of San Francisco-Oakland roads in unacceptably poor condition. This year we’re down to 71. Every little bit helps?

Fifteen percent of local roads gets marks for being at least “mediocre.” FHA and TRIP judged only eight percent of local pavement in “good” condition.

Second place LA has 60 percent of roads in bad shape, while San Jose slides into third at 59 percent.

Again, many drivers will no doubt observe California’s place in the top three spots and declare that they knew it all along.

But if you’re looking for something to potentially defend the honor of San Francisco streets, note that TRIP’s director of research pointed out to Hoodline that they’re measuring major expressways rather than neighborhood streets.

Also, this data was collected in 2014, with 2015 figures set for next year’s report, and so forth.

If you want to know whether we’ve managed to turn everything around in the last two years, well, ask any commuters you know. They’ll probably give you an earful.

zhu difeng