Rocky Road Woes

By J'Amy Brown   |   August 15, 2019

Q. Some Montecito roads are so dinged with ruts, driving on them seems like a game of “dodgem holes.” Are our rocky roads due for a fix?

A. What a welcomed question – because it may mean the community is starting to change our focus from survival mode to surface matters.

Smooth road example

Just 19 months ago our lanes and roads were being scoured from boulders and mud, slashed for utility repairs and crushed by a bottleneck of oversized emergency, excavation, cement, hauling, construction, utility and moving trucks. Potholes were the least of our concerns – we were begging for road functionality.

That liberation arrived in the form of the County of Santa Barbara Public Works Department, led by Public Works Director, Scott McGolpin. This branch of our county’s government is made up of a crew of dedicated, generous, selfless employees – including two prominent debris flow attendants: Tom Fayram, Deputy Director of Water Resources, and Chris Sneddon, Deputy Director of Transportation.

Take note Board of Supervisors: The County Public Works Department met Montecito’s Debris Flow recovery needs with valor and excellence, accomplishing the laborious task with extensive breadth, proficiency and rapidity. Now, with that past due gratitude appropriately bestowed, it’s time to toss off the laurel wreaths and put back on the hard hats.

A recent survey on social media site NextDoor indicates some Montecito roads are in need of manicuring. Contacted about these dings, Deputy Director Sneddon said even though disaster-torn infrastructure continues to remain a department priority, Public Works wants to be alerted to even minor road repair needs.

“We want the public to bring road repairs to our attention – from emergency repairs, to routine repairs, to how a road surface looks,” Sneddon said. “Sometimes it is just a routine maintenance repair, sometimes it is more complex, but we want the public to call our maintenance yard (805-681-5678) and get their road concern on to the annual service data base.”

Rocky road? Call Public Works (805 681-5678) to report it

Here’s a thumb nail sketch of the process, but it is more fully described on Public Works website listed below. The process starts with alerting the maintenance yard and filling out a Project Initiation Request (PIR) form (805 681-5678). That gets the repair on the department’s official tracking database. Quick fixes are usually just that – fixed quickly. However, beyond-routine projects, like full road resurfacing, face a more challenging process – with the five Supervisors each hoping their favorite district projects will get slotted on the budget-driven RdMAP (Road Maintenance Annual Program).

Public Works staff begins to assemble that potential annual road repair list in the fall, basing it on the PIR database, along with staff and public input. To get additional public input, PW hosts an annual public workshop in February, focusing on the preliminary list. By June, after staff assessments, the finalized list is presented to the Board of Supervisors as part of annual budget process. While the list is well calculated, it remains flexible and can changes due to unexpected circumstances. Any PIR not chosen must resubmit annually for funding consideration.

Right now, for example, Public Works is in the initial stages of compiling the program list for the 2020-2021 fiscal year – and the good news is Montecito may have snagged some slots for some of our NextDoor generated “worst-rutted-roads” list.

Personally, I hope you never find yourself on a bumpy road, but if you do land in a rut remember to call Public Works (805-681-5678) to report it. And, while you’re waiting for a tow, download PW’s Road Maintenance Annual Program Report It fully explains, in an interesting manner, the road maintenance process. I promise, after reading it, you will no longer take for granted Santa Barbara County’s 1,650 lane-miles of roadways that puts the wind beneath your tires!

So, the next time you crank up the classic for a spin around Montecito and you see yellow-vested workers along the roadside – offer a thumbs-up wave and a smile—because, in fact, you’d be getting nowhere without them!

Below is the neighborhood-generated rut-inventory, along with Sneddon’s responses. The second grouping is Public Works 2019-2020 Potential Program List for Montecito, which, as a reminder, can be reprioritized due to emergency needs or other unexpected road work demands.

Olive Mill Road – CS: It is already in this fiscal year’s work plan (2019-2020). San Ysidro Lane – CS: On the 2019-2020 program for a fall 2019 resurfacing. San Ysidro Road – CS: It is generally in good condition and no action is pending. La Vereda Road – CS: There are roads that have a higher priority, but citizens can contact maintenance and get looped into the development of next year’s plan and we can see where it falls in the priority list as we develop next year’s plan. La Vereda Lane – CS: It is in “fair” condition, but this, like La Vereda Road, is a road the community could consider seeking a “Project Initiation Request” for the 2020-2021 fiscal budget. Hot Springs Road – CS: It if holds its priority the current plan is to put road repair in the 2020-2021 annual plan. Summit Road – CS: Summit Road has a lower priority than Hot Springs, but could see resurfacing in the 2020/21 year. Barker Pass – CS: Barker Pass was resurfaced about eight years ago. There are no immediate plans to resurface it. State Highway 192 (East Valley Road) – CS: This is not a county road and falls to Caltrans to repair. (J’Amy adds: The newly resurfaced portion of 192/East Valley near Birnam Wood was worth the wait – it is a red carpet glide ride. Give it a spin!) East Valley Lane/Oriole Lane – CS: These are private roads and not county maintained. If cut-through traffic is an issue on a private road, it can be gated or signage can be installed. Calle Elegante – CS: The public piece is in good condition. We are unaware of any agreement to pave the private part, but they can contact me if they have further information.

Public Works’ potential Montecito road repairs scheduled for 2019-2020:

Road Name From To Treatment

N Jameson Ln Sheffield Dr BR 51C-238 Preventive 

N Jameson Ln BR NO C-238 San Ysidro Rd Preventive 

Posilipo Ln S Jameson Ln Fernald Point Preventive 

Spring Rd Olive Mill Rd Depot Rd Rehabilitation

Loureyro Rd N Jameson Ln N End Preventive 

N Jameson Ln San Ysidro Rd Olive Mill Rd Preventive 

Olive Mill Rd Virginia Ln Hill Rd Rehabilitation

Channel Dr Hill Rd Fairway Rd Rehabilitation

Hill Rd 1189 Hill Rd Olive Mill Rd Rehabilitation


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