Carmel Valley residents request repairs on local streets

Cracks on El Camino Real.
(Jeff Heden)

The state of the streets in Carmel Valley have been a topic of discussion at the last two Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meetings. Residents have complained about a number of chewed-up and bumpy roadways: “Del Mar Heights Road in front of Torrey Pines High School feels like you’re off-roading” and driving El Camino Real is “like going through a battlefield”.

Carmel Valley Road by the Village at Pacific at Highlands Ranch has been requested for repair multiple times and one local resident reaches out near weekly to the mayor’s office about repaving Via De La Valle, complaining about its deep potholes, ruts and missing lines. One side of Via de la Valle was repaved following the completion of the SDG&E undergrounding and reconfiguration project in the area but there has been no response from the city as to when the other side might be done.

At a press conference on Feb. 23, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria re-affirmed his commitment to road repair and said the city is taking an “all hands on deck” approach to filling potholes.

Since the January rains, 17,000 potholes have been filled throughout the city and the backlog reached as high as 2,200 complaints. The city worked hard to respond to requests and narrowed that number down to 300, Gloria said.

“Because San Diegans are doing exactly what we told them to do, which is report potholes that they see in the community via the Get it Done app, we’re back up to about 550 complaints,” Gloria said.

With last week’s storms, Gloria said they only expect that number to grow and in response the city is deploying extra work crews to make sure the backlog is addressed: 30 crews on weekdays, 11 on Saturdays and seven on Sundays.

In addition to filling the holes, Gloria said they intend to focus on the miles of roads that need repaving: “We’re not going to lose sight of that. We’re going to keep fixing the damn roads,” Gloria said. By the end of this fiscal year, he said they are on pace to repair more than 260 miles of roads across the city, including 63 miles of overlay, which is when they grind down the existing asphalt and replace it with new asphalt.

At the Carmel Valley board’s Feb. 23 meeting, residents remained skeptical about the Get it Done app. Board member Jeff Heden said he made seven Get it Done requests for segments of El Camino Real—he said it is particularly bad in the northbound lane between Del Mar Heights Road and Half Mile Drive. All of the requests were closed and nothing was fixed.

Emily Piatanesi, community representative for the mayor’s office, said the Get it Done app is specifically for potholes and not slurry seal maintenance or a complete overlay, which is what many residents are seeking for Carmel Valley’s crumbling roads. Both she and a representative for Councilmember Joe LaCava’s office said they would pass along the planning board members’ requests for repairs.

In addition to street repairs, Mayor Gloria’s press conference also addressed broken streetlights, a problem that has also come up in Carmel Valley.: “The number of streetlights that are out is unacceptable,” he said.

The mayor said the backlog of broken lights is about 5,900 citywide and one of the main reasons for the lack of repairs is that there is not enough electricians to keep up with the demand. Hiring more electricians is a part of upcoming budget discussions but Gloria announced that he reached a one-year agreement with labor groups to use private electricians to help reduce the streetlight backlog. He anticipates it will result in an additional 800 lights being repaired over the next year.