Good Roads


I often have to laugh at how many,many categories there are for which we find ways to congratulate ourselves. I know in Real Estate there are awards within each company for just about anything and everything you can imagine. It doesn’t take a whole lot of success for somebody to get a plaque, or something, come the end of each year. We just simply like to pat ourselves on the back from time to time…I guess just because it feels good to do so.

Well that philosophy also applies to citys and towns. Turns out a group called the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has honored Foster City as having the best roads in San Mateo County! Turns out that FC was third out of the entire 108 municipality Bay Area too, and all of this determined by the pavement condition index (whatever that is!).  There was a nice article in the San Mateo Daily Journal on Tuesday about this achievement and I would encourage you to check it out.

I don’t actually mean to be smart alecky, really, and I’m sure there’s a bunch of very worthy individuals who have been, and continue to be responsible for making sure Foster City’s streets are in top shape. It’s just that it seems funny to me that there are folks out there whose job it is to index and rate pavement condition for every town in the Bay Area. It’s such a good thing that we don’t have snow here! When I lived in Denver 20 years ago, a heavy snowfall was followed by the city dropping tons of rock salt and gravel onto the city streets to create traction…which was followed by melting, runoff and, finally,  pot holes when all was said and done. You could lose your whole car in some of those pot holes! All the roads around here seem pretty darn good to me. Congratulations for being the best!


  1. SteveTinFC says:

    Jim – my friend, your “smart aleckyness” exudes in this article! For what it’s worth, I’m going to try and help you understand the importance of the pavement management index (PMI). It’s far more than just a way to pat a city on the back.

    PMI is a standard, quantifiable index that allows a government agency to determine the condition of its roadways. Just like an individual looks at their FICO score to determine their creditworthiness, or a bank and realtor will look at loan-to-income ratios, cities use PMI to understand the condition of their roadways and if they need to a better job of fixing them.

    PMI runs from a scale from 1 to 100. A rating of 100, which is nearly impossible, would be like driving on glass. A rating of 30 or below means hubcaps and bumpers are falling off, the road is so poorly maintained. Cities determine a PMI index they want to strive for and budget maintenance and capital dollars to meet that level.

    Foster City has been blessed financially with a mix of gas tax, sales tax, and property tax dollars to maintain its roadways at a very high level. Further, our Council places a high priority on maintaining City infrastructure so the residents and businesses don’t have to worry about crumbling roadways, ruining their suspension, or leading to unsafe conditions for drivers and pedestrians. Our PMI index is typically at 86 or so, and I’ll bet that your readers would attest to how well maintained our roads are. You only need to travel over to parts of San Mateo, Belmont, let alone San Francisco or Oakland, to understand how truly fortunate we are to have the roads we do in town. And that comes with planning and attention to our PMI.

    The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is responsible for determining regional transportation needs. They also are responsible for allocating federal and state dollars, in some regards, to local agencies. They came up with this “award” program as a means of recognizing and encouraging local cities to do a better job of roadway management. So it’s not just a “show dog competition” here … there is a reason for the award program than just a good old pat on the back. They are trying to encourage better transportation opportunities in the Bay Area, and roadway conditions are a large part of that.

    I hope this helps you and your readers better understand what this whole PMI thing is all about. It’s much more important than just a meaningless award.

    Steve Toler
    Administrative Services Director
    City of Foster City

  2. Jim Minkey says:

    Jeez…kind of touchy, huh? My bad, like I said I have no doubt that there are plenty of really hard working folks who make FC’s roads as good as they are. Sorry if I hurt anybody’s feelings. You guys are great…and please keep it up!

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