Santa Cruz City Schools Complete Streets Master Plan

30% of school children in the city of Santa Cruz, CA bike or walk to school, according to Ecology Action, and the city of Santa Cruz would like to increase that number. To help accomplish this, Santa Cruz City Council unanimously approved Santa Cruz City Schools Complete Streets Master Plan.

Teen girls

The plan describes the transportation environment in the neighborhoods around each of the ten Santa Cruz public elementary, middle and high schools, including the two charter schools. It identifies barriers to students walking and biking and provides a list of potential capital improvement projects to make active transportation safer and more convenient, using Complete Streets and Safe Routes to Schools principles to evaluate current conditions and guide the design of proposed solutions. It supports future grant applications to fund the proposed projects which would not only benefit the schools, but also the adjoining neighborhoods and the broader community.

The proposals range from simple and low-cost projects such as new signs, to major intersection reconfigurations that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The most expensive, million dollar projects tend to be those to add sidewalks and paths in the neighborhoods around the schools.

The plan authors prioritized projects based on school proximity, cost, crash data, traffic volume, and feasibility. I listed the top priority project for each of the schools below. Because priority includes cost and feasibility along with benefit, you’ll see mostly low-hanging fruit that can be implemented quickly and cheaply, saving the more politically and financially expensive projects for later implementation.

  • Bayview Elementary: Install “Share the Road” signs at the back entrance to Bayview Elementary School. Personal note: I thought city of Santa Cruz policy is to use BMUFL signs now?
  • Delaveaga Elementary: Upgrade west sidewalk on Morrissey Boulevard overpass to a two-way multi-use path for
    pedestrians and cyclist; add a barrier between the path and adjacent travel lane; install entrance features to direct bicyclist to the multi-use path as oppose to using travel lane on to freeway.

  • Gault Elementary: Addd yellow crosswalks on the north and south legs of Cayuga Street at Broadway; move advance stop bar back from intersection.
  • Westlake Elementary: Consider a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) to increase visibility of pedestrians at uncontrolled crosswalk on Bay Drive at Meder Street.
  • Branciforte Middle: Consider Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB) for pedestrian crossing on west leg of intersection on Water at Poplar.
  • Mission Hill Middle: Study signal timing to ensure sufficient crossing time for pedestrians on Mission and Walnut. Personal note: Also, this intersection does not detect bicycles to trigger lights, forcing cyclists to get on the sidewalk to press the beg button.
  • Harbor High: Review signal timing to evaluate reducing wait time for pedestrians on Soquel at 7th.
  • Santa Cruz High: Study warrants for all-way stop on Walnut Avenue at California Street and Grover Lane intersections.
  • Branciforte Small: Consider installing high-visibility crosswalk and access ramps on north leg of intersection of N Branciforte Avenue and Sunnyside Ave.
  • Pacific Collegiate: Install advance stop line on all three legs of Swift and Chance.

People Power Director Amelia Conlen asked council for immediate funding for some projects, and asked them to move forward on bike lanes for King Street near Mission Hill Middle School.

Read more about the council meeting at the Sentinel: Santa Cruz study identifies 160 ways to improve biking, walking to school.

Read the full plan here.

San Jose budget: Public safety and traffic safety

Newly elected San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo released a message highlighting the budget priorities for 2015-2016. In his press release, Liccardo and his allies emphasized the concern most often expressed by San Jose residents, namely that of reducing crime through increased police spending. I’m happy to see, nonetheless, that Liccardo and other members of the city council include traffic safety in their goal of a “Safer, Smarter San Jose.”

San Jose Weekend Carnage

read more »

Boneshaker Big Wheel

Ron Schroer boneshaker bigwheel

This kinetic sculpture by artist Ron Shroer in Jacksonville, Florida combines a pedal-powered Jansen’s linkage walking mechanism with a wooden penny-farthing style wheel.

Boneshaker Big Wheel 2014 incarnation from Ron Schroer on Vimeo.

On his One Spark project page, Shroer writes “I’m just a boring old fart who, after going through chemo, realized if I didn’t let some of my crazy out before I passed I’d be disappointed with myself.”

Via Eric in Ohio.

Bike to Shop: Coming soon!

Bike To Shop Day Silicon Valley is coming up May 23, 2015 and needs your help to make it great!

Bike To Shop Day

read more »

UCSC: Two dozen stolen bicycles in 3 weeks!

Bike Coop This Way  #ucsc #bike #cycling #santacruz

The University of California Santa Cruz Police Department sent this Crime Bulletin about campus bike theft on Saturday.

The UC Santa Cruz Police Department is seeking the public’s help with its investigation into nearly two dozen reported bicycle thefts since February 24. The thefts appear to have been mostly during the day from bike racks throughout the campus with most of the thefts being in the Porter College area. The suspect has used bolt cutters to cut off or pry open the locks. In one case, the suspect was seen after cutting a lock and fleeing on the stolen bicycle.

The suspect was described as a 5-foot, 8-inch Hispanic male with short hair and a medium build. He was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt and carrying a sling-style backpack with yellow straps.

Anyone who may be a witness or has information regarding these crimes is encouraged to call the UC Santa Cruz Police Department at 831-459-2231, ext. 1. Bicyclists are encouraged to use strong locks when securing their bikes to campus racks.

Report all in-progress crimes by calling 911.

The UCSC Winter Quarter ended last Friday; Spring Quarter classes begin Monday, March 30, so the campus is a ghost town this week and bikes are an easy target for thieves.

Lee Kuan Yew rode a bicycle

The long-lived authoritarian architect of Singapore’s independence and prosperity, Lee Kuan Yew, reportedly biked to his college classes at Fitzwilliam House at the University of Cambridge after World War II.

Lee Kuan Lew Singapore

read more »