New San Diego pothole plan revealed on same day Team 10 test results revealed

Team 10 tests city on pothole response times

SAN DIEGO - On the same day a San Diego City Council member announced a new plan for fixing potholes, Team 10 is revealing its test of the city's repair times.

City Councilman Keven Faulconer said San Diego has to do a better job getting potholes fixed quickly.

He requested an audit of the Streets Division responsible for repairing city streets. They reviewed pothole repair operations from 2009 to 2012, and those results were released at a committee meeting Monday morning.

Faulconer said last year alone, the city spent about $1.3 million to fill more than 30,000 potholes, and it took several days to fill in the road holes.

Faulconer said the potholes should be fixed section by section and in a more uniform manner. He said this will get the potholes filled 40 percent faster.

Mayor Bob Filner has already signed off on the plan, Faulconer said, so it begins immediately.

Transportation and Storm Water Department spokesman Bill Harris told 10News in March that the city cannot fix potholes if they do not know about them.

He said to report them and the potholes should be patched within 72 hours.

Team10 Troubleshooter Cristin Severance put that 72-hour time limit to the test.

In Ocean Beach, two potholes had opened up in front of 2120 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

"The one that you guys see right here is big enough to swallow a scooter tire for sure," said Ocean Beach resident Sandy Finbres.

Team 10 called the city service department and reported them on a Friday. Three business days later, the potholes still were not filled.

"It's an issue and it needs addressed," said Finbres.

Team 10 also reported a pothole on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard after a viewer commented on a 10News pothole story on 10News.com.

Three days later, the pothole was still there.

"They should be doing their job, that's all," said a driver who uses Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.

Team 10 then reported three potholes near the intersection of College Avenue and University Avenue in front of the Arco gas station on a Tuesday.

On Friday, three days later, the potholes were not fixed.

"They should patch it up," said driver Celia San Filippo. "It could be dangerous for another car. They could lose control, pop a tire."

In 2011, it took an average of eight days for the city to fix a pothole. In 2012, it took an average of 15 days.

Harris said the three-day rule is a target, not a guarantee.

"I apologize to anyone in advance who was anxious to have it done in three days," he told 10News. "It's a big city. There are a lot of issues but we are still targeting for three days."

In a news release, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced a new plan for a pothole repair equity program. 

The mayor received the auditor's report in April and decided to incorporate the auditor's recommendations into his plan to repair the streets of San Diego.

"What we found when we examined where pothole repairs were being made, was that there were certain communities that were getting more potholes repaired than others," said Filner. "What we want to do by developing a systematic approach is spread the repairs equally throughout the city, so all communities can see improvements on a regular basis."

The recommended plan provides a schedule for six pothole repair crews to circulate the city, making repairs systematically. The six crews will work their way through the city districts on a nine-day cycle and then repeat the cycle on a continuing basis. Two other crews will respond to calls in cases of extreme need of immediate repairs.

Other recommendations from the auditor's report that the mayor supports include a standard method of collecting data, improving controls over collecting such data and a system to measure efficiency in the effort to repair potholes.

"With these combined efforts, I am confident we are on the path to safer and smoother roads for all San Diegans," said Filner.  "It is time to aggressively attack this problem and I believe this is the most equitable and efficient."

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