There are 30 miles of privately-maintained streets in Orinda in addition to the 64 miles of publicly-maintained residential streets. These streets are not gated enclaves but, for the most part, cul-de-sacs indistinguishable from adjacent publicly maintained ones. 1,550 families live on these streets; about 20 percent of Orinda.  These families pay the same taxes as their neighbors living on public streets but do not share in the benefit of publicly funded road maintenance.

A group of Orindans has been attempting to discuss the situation with the CIty since April 2017. They have been to innumerable City Council and CIOC (Citizens Infrastructure Oversight Commission) meetings.  There the topic was "discussed", but not in an organized and open manner. 

The City Council finally scheduled a workshop on August 27, 2019.  Our working group presented its position and members of the City Staff presented various facts (some of which were contested).  While members of the City Council were in attendance, none made a comment. 

The topic was discussed by the City Council on October 1.  Members of the public were allowed to make three-minute statements but then had to revert to silent observation while the City Council and staff discussed the issue.  At the end of the meeting, three members of the Council, Amy Worth, Inga Miller and Nick Kosla, stated that the 1,550 households currently being denied the benefits that the rest of the city's residents receive (including themselves), would continue to be denied without even determining what it would take to provide all citizens with the same benefits.

What benefits are the residents of public residential streets receiving; what are the residents of the private streets paying for those benefits; and what would it cost to provide the residents living on private streets with equivalent benefits?

* To date, the City has spent $7 million in sales tax revenue and $45 million in road bonds (which will cost $66 million to repay) to repair the 64 miles of public residential streets; home to 4,200 families; a benefit of $17,400 per family. The City will then have to raise another $2 million a year to maintain these roads (another $450 a year benefit per family).

* Of the $73 million spent on the public residential streets, those living on private streets will be paying $19 million; about $12,000 per family. In addition, they will be paying about $300 each to help maintain the public residential streets. We have been told that these expenses are justified because we all use the public residential streets, but this is not true. 45% of these streets are cul de sacs or loops that only the residents living on them use. And 50% of those living on private streets access the Orinda road network directly into it major streets, completely bypassing the public residential streets. Finally, the CIOC’s Road And Drainage Repairs Plan which it is about to release, shows that over 90% of all residential street wear-and-tear comes from the garbage trucks serving the homes on these streets, with each garbage truck trip being equivalent to 9,300 car trips. So what little the private street residents do use of the public residential streets, they do not add much to the wear and tear.

* While it is costing about $5 million a year to pay for the repair and maintenance of the 64 miles of public residential streets, the 30 miles of private residential streets will cost less than $1 million. 80% of the 64 miles of public residential streets required repairs, with 30 miles needing near-total reconstruction (thus the need for $53 million to repair these streets), but only about 4 miles of the private residential streets are in need of deferred maintenance (at a cost of less than $5 million which will cost about $200,000 annually to repay). These small residential streets can then be maintained for an additional $600,000. The total, $800,000, would only cost the average Orinda home $115 a year.

The residents on private streets, and some on public streets, believe that the City still needs to determine what it would cost to serve the private streets in a manner equivalent to the service public streets receive. To encourage the City to do so, 682 residents (so far) have signed a letter of support which reads:

We, the undersigned residents of Orinda, support an investigation to determine the factual data and find various possible means to provide fair and inclusive public maintenance funding for all streets in Orinda, both public and private, and will not support any new tax measure until such an investigation is completed.

To add your name to this letter,  Sign Here  (click on this link)

Who are We?
We are a group of Orinda private street residents who have been paying all taxes, fees, and bonds for Orinda’s public road repairs and maintenance who have received no assistance in maintaining our “private” streets that are completely open to the public. There are 30 miles of private streets. There are 94 miles of public roads that we all pay for of which only 30 miles are “arterials and collectors” that we all use. The remaining 64 miles are publicly maintained residential streets that are identical to our private streets.
What do we want to achieve?
We are trying to get the City to create a policy that would provide public funding for road maintenance, including coverage for catastrophic events which a community can absord while a few isolated homes may not.

For more details, click here.