The Rebuilding Our Streets Plan lays out the City’s short and long-term goals that it aims to tackle over the next 10 years. We believe these goals are both ambitious and feasible. Achieving them will improve resident satisfaction with essential local infrastructure.
The first target for the City will be to address all “failed” streets in South Bend over the next year. As these streets and segments typically require full reconstruction at a high cost, it has been an historical tendency to use the limited funds available to invest in streets that can be maintained as opposed to those needing complete reconstruction. Unfortunately, this has resulted in chronically bad conditions. Now, we are changing our approach. In this plan, we aim to tackle these chronic, failed streets first and prevent others from dipping into these conditions in the future.
The second target for the City is to continually improve its average PASER over the next 10 years. Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) stands for a 1-10 rating system to compare street segments. The City has been using PASER since 2016 to monitor the quality of streets and help make decisions about where to invest repair and reconstruction funds.
There are six guiding principles shaping the City’s approach to street repair from 2021 – 2030:
- Fix failed streets. Address all streets with a PASER of 1 or 2 (failed) over the next three years. A failed street is one that has deteriorated so much that it can no longer be maintained by the standard mill and overlay paving. The street may still be drivable, but the pavement has lost its integrity and has severe cracking. The only solution for a failed street is complete removal and rebuilding of the pavement layers from the ground up.
- Raise the bar. Aim to increase average PASER to achieve and maintain a citywide average above a rating of 7 over the next 10 years. In 2020, the City’s average PASER was 6. The City will continue to track average PASER of other cities in Indiana and benchmark against them.
- Strive for equity. Monitor street conditions by council district, striving for equitable street quality – especially residential street quality.
- Be data driven. Investing in new tools and processes to monitor progress on street conditions. The City has developed a public dashboard showing PASER ratings and is looking at alternative technologies to better analyze and track street condition annually.
- Be transparent. Aim to be more transparent with residents, sharing plans for street repair proactively. This includes the methodology behind decisions to prioritize certain streets, street repair lists and the streets conditions dashboard for residents to monitor the City’s data on street quality over time.
- Increase efficiency. Find ways to stretch the lifespan of our roads and invest more in upfront maintenance to reduce costs over the long term.
STREETS CONDITIONS DASHBOARD
The Street Conditions dashboard is designed for elected officials and South Bend residents to look up the quality of the City’s roads. The City of South Bend uses the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) System developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison to evaluate road conditions. This dashboard was developed in response to the City’s Community Survey results, in which residents highlighted improving roads as a top priority for the City.
Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) is a 1-10 rating for governments to compare street segments. The rating is determined based on the surface condition with 1 being a failed street and 10 being a new paved street. Every street segment is driven and assigned a rating based on visual and structural deterioration, such as types of cracks, frequency of cracks, potholes, patches and rutting.