From Tommy Hough campaign website. Caption read: "Sadly, Gold Coast and Parkdale are not unique. This is the 8600 block of Perseus Rd."
Mira Mesa locals are looking forward to the complete reconstruction of Gold Coast Drive after years of trying to get the street fixed. The street, running east-west about a quarter of a mile south of Mira Mesa, is so bad that those who live nearby – and City Councilman Chris Cate – have said it’s the worst street in San Diego.
Recently, city workers spray painted sharrows – telling motorists that cyclists are their equals — on the street where drivers have broken axles and moving cars have been tossed into parked cars. The sharrows fall into deep crevasses and ruts along the Class III bikeway identified by Alta Planning+Design in 2002.
Drivers hate the conditions, which feel like driving over harsh speed bumps — for most of the 2.2-mile length of the road. “There are a bunch of deep potholes on Gold Coast Drive between Westonhill Drive and Thanksgiving Lane and lots of drivers are swerving into oncoming traffic to avoid them,” a driver noted in 2019.
Bari Vaz says the road was built incorrectly in 1969 – during one of the city’s housing shortages. The city’s solution had been to steer developers to open land like Mira Mesa, and let them do as they found convenient.
“The road’s failure is not from normal wear and tear. Its badly built subsurface finally deteriorated so badly it can’t be fixed,” she says. “It has to be completely dug up and rebuilt. If they fill potholes, the repairs collapse as soon as there’s any moisture.” Parkdale Lane, at the west end of Gold Coast, was built at the same time, in the same rush. At the time, Mira Mesa had no schools and just one grocery store – hard to imagine now with the stores and restaurants on the street.
Gold Coast Drive. “The road’s failure is not from normal wear and tear. Its badly built subsurface finally deteriorated so badly it can’t be fixed.”
Mira Mesans have been campaigning for the redo for years – while they nursed broken axles and struts, and bicycling injuries. The street even became a talking point in Tommy Hough’s campaign against Cate in 2018.
The city’s Get-It-Done app has more than 200 complaints about Gold Coast – at least 165 of them are for the condition of the street. “Gold Coast drive is a nightmare with all the potholes! We have been asking for this road to be repaved for years!! If it isn't fixed soon I am going to start suing the City for my car repairs,” one complainant wrote a year ago.
The city has been known to pay for damage to cars caused by the poor condition of streets, city spokesman Arian Collins said. But the Risk Management division either does not have or will not release a list of its most expensive bad roads, he said.
The road will be demolished and rebuilt for about $6 million — plus another $5 million for the adjoining Parkdale Lane – from money raised by the sale of city bonds. As of this writing, the money remains allocated for the improvements, according to Cate’s staff. Jeffry Stevens of Mira Mesa said it takes a long, committed effort to get such a repair done – even with the full support of their city council member.
“I will celebrate when shovels are in the ground,” he says. “I credit the folks who stayed with it and pushed this project for the past few years.“
The campaign to fix the road began in 2010, he said. “I wish the wheels of government turned faster,” he said. “But because this is lease revenue bonds, it’s harder to divert the money and I think it really is going to happen.”
Those who live in Mira Mesa for the most part, haven’t heard that the project is coming, and the reaction was mixed. “I think it’s safer for my kids the way it is,” says Sheila, whose grandkids live with her. “The cars have to drive slow – we don’t need those ‘slow down’ signs you see in other parts of the city. Drivers hit one hard stretch and they pay attention.”