The Riverside city council voted Sept. 7 to approve a $6.3 million project that includes plans to repave seven miles of city streets. The streets include La Sierra Avenue from Cleveland Avenue to Magnolia Avenue; Jurupa Avenue from Palm Avenue to Pachappa Drive; and Olivewood Avenue from Jurupa Avenue to Prospect Avenue. Four miles of smaller streets and neighborhoods are included in the approval as well.
Dr. Carol Minton-Ryan, professor of sociology, said that these seemingly minor city improvement projects can improve general resident prosperity from a sociological perspective.
“It shows that the city cares for its residents,” Minton-Ryan said. “When roads are cared for (and) streets are cleaned, you feel safe. It can build morale, as opposed to roads with potholes or unclearly marked lanes.”
Minton-Ryan also commented on how the roles of college students have shifted over time, creating a larger need for safer roads.
“This kind of project really deals with our safety,” Minton-Ryan said. “(Students) often are busy. This generation has more roles to play as college students. Early on, college students rarely worked. Now many work part-time or full-time, or care for their family. With these facts, transportation here in the Inland Empire is crucial for safety.”
Stephen Salazar, senior business administration major, shared his personal experiences with driving along Riverside streets as a commuter. He emphasized the importance of safety benefits from the project, as well as street health.
“Being a commuter, I think this change will not only enhance my personal driving experience but also everyone’s,” Salazar said. “The health of our streets is important in making sure our campus and the area around look nice. Unkept streets are one of the No. 1 reasons for tire wear and can often be a cause for accidents, as well.”
The project also encompasses adding and renovating wheelchair ramps on the sidewalks. Christian Edwards, sophomore software engineering major, touched on how these additions will benefit his movement around Riverside as a wheelchair user.
“This would be a great improvement, as there are not a lot of ramps when crossing the streets,” Edwards said. “Being on the side of the road can be dangerous because you never know who’s driving. I think this will really help a lot.”