OAKLAND -- After failing for years to address complaints about a pothole-laden thoroughfare in the Oakland hills, the city will pay $3 million to a cyclist who suffered severe injuries after crashing on the street.

In a closed session Tuesday, the Oakland City Council agreed to a $3.25 million settlement with Dulcey Bower, who crashed while bicycling downhill on Mountain Boulevard between Ascot Drive and the Highway 13 onramp.

Bower, a 35-year-old Oakland resident, suffered "severe injuries to her face, head, jaw, teeth" from the Aug. 7, 2011, accident, according to court papers.

"This was a serious accident, and this settlement is a fair settlement," Councilman Dan Kalb said Thursday. "The real issue ... is what more do we need to do ... to make sure we fix the roads that need fixing before accidents like this happen. And that's primarily a budgetary challenge."

The city had received prior complaints about multiple potholes and ruts on the road but failed to fix them. In a 2007 letter to Oakland's Public Works Agency, Rick Rickard of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition warned of "a number of serious cracks and patches" that force cyclists to "swerve left and right within the lane to minimize risk, often in front of a fast moving vehicle." Rickard began avoiding the road altogether. "It was just basically poor broken pavement with a lot of patches on it," he said.

The city will pay $3 million to Bower; its insurance company will cover the additional $250,000. The city fixed the potholes four months after the accident, Public Works spokeswoman Kristine Shaff said in an email.

The settlement, scheduled for final approval by the council on April 1, is one of the largest awarded in recent city history. By comparison, the city has spent $1.86 million to settle claims filed by 14 people in Occupy Oakland-related cases.

"This was a serious injury," said Carter Zinn, Bower's attorney. "We commend the city for taking this seriously. ... It's our hope that the city can put money toward preventing these kinds of accidents by maintaining these roadways."

The condition of city streets have deteriorated over the past few decades. In 2012, Oakland pavement ranked near the bottom of Bay Area cities, according to a Metropolitan Transportation Commission report. In the East Bay, only Albany, San Leandro and Orinda ranked lower.

Oakland has about 1,000 pending pothole repair requests, Shaff said.

Dave Campbell of the bike coalition commended the city for implementing a system to prioritize road hazards, but he noted it failed for years to deal with the issues on Mountain Boulevard.

"It's always troubling when there's a hazard out there and it takes too long to get it fixed," he said. "Unfortunately, in this case, someone got seriously hurt."