'Summer of Paving' project begins in Oakland

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Oakland's "Summer of Paving" has begun. That's what city leaders are nicknaming their new transportation initiative meant to improve dozens of roads. (KGO-TV)

Oakland's "Summer of Paving" has begun. That's what leaders in Oakland are nicknaming their new transportation initiative meant to improve dozens of roads.

Leaders say they finally have the money to do it, thanks to Measure KK approved in 2016 and also the state's controversial gas tax. Transportation officials have not said how much the 'Summer of Paving' improvements cost, but it's part of $25 million budgeted for transportation improvements from 2017-2019.

"San Francisco had its 'Summer of Love, Oakland is getting its 'Summer of Paving'," says Oakland's Mayor Libby Schaaf.

There's less music and more rattling, but it is welcome noise to many folks. "I'm happy that they're getting done, because it's been years of problems on these streets," says Oakland resident Robert Grove.

Crews are trying to repave four times as many miles than in previous years. OakDOT hopes at least 25 miles of city streets will see smooth new pavement this year. The average in other years has been just six miles.

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City leaders say it will not only help drivers but also improve safety. "On this street we've lost a number of families due to violence, so neighbors want to make a difference. They're engaged," comments Councilmember Noel Gallo. "They demanded to get streets repaved."

It worked. The neighborhood at East 16th Street and 37th Avenue is getting new pavement for the first time in decades.

Residents like Robert Grove had gotten fed up with cracks and potholes. Grove says he's complained for a long time. "Three years of complaining to the city, so I'm glad they're finally doing this," says Grove.

Some of the money for the 'Summer of Paving' comes from the state's controversial gas tax, which is on the chopping block in the upcoming Midterm elections. "Let's be clear that if SB1 gets repealed in this next election this kind of work and this kind of pace will not be happening for Oakland or for communities across California," says Schaaf.

Transportation officials say money from SB1 is also being used to hire crews to do the work. Transportation officials estimate roughly a third of their budget for this project comes from the gas tax.

If you live in Oakland, you'll see crews out on the streets working 12 hour days as part of this initiative. They're taking advantage of the nicer and sunnier weather.

Click here for a complete map of the roads getting repaved this summer and to see if your neighborhood made the list..
Related Topics:
automotivelibby schaafroad repairroad safetydrivingOakland
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