San Diego’s increased focus on racial equity in the wake of recent protests has prompted city officials to consider paving 40 miles of dirt streets scattered across low-income neighborhoods south of Interstate 8.
Residents and businesses near the roads deal with excessive dust in warm months, flooding and mudslides during winters, and crater-like potholes throughout the year.
Perhaps more importantly, community leaders say the unimproved dirt streets and alleys can damage neighborhood pride and leave first-time visitors and potential developers with a negative image of the areas.
“A key impact of these dirt roads is the damage they do to the perception within the community of their own self-worth,” said Lizzie Rodriguez, a community activist living just east of Logan Heights in a neighborhood called Memorial.
“People who visit say it’s really different here,” Rodriguez said. “But it shouldn’t be, because they pay taxes just like residents in Rancho Bernardo