Dear Street Smarts,
Q: When will the powers that be fix the street surface on northbound Soquel Drive between State Park Drive and Cabrillo. Its surface is similar to driving off-road. How can a public agency let a roadway deteriorate to this extent?
Michael Cotroneo, via email
A: “Great timing for your question,” said Steve Wiesner, assistant public works director. “The County Department of Public Works is currently preparing plans for a pavement rehabilitation project on Soquel Drive between State Park and Borregas drives in Aptos.”
The project will be paid for using $700,000 in Federal Regional Surface Transportation Program funds, he said. Right now, the county is in the preparation phase of the project and plans to advertise, open bids and award the contract by the end of June.
Construction is to hoped to begin in July 2012.
Rumble strips — An Innovative Safety Improvement for Everyone, by Richard Krumholz, Caltrans District 5 Director
Caltrans takes pride in our mission to Improve Mobility Across California, and safety is always our top goal. We work hard to ensure that all projects meet the needs of users of the state highway system. The need for safety improvements on Highway 1 in Santa Cruz County between Shaffer Road and Swanton Road was recently highlighted when citizens voiced their concern to us about the pattern of incidents, especially drift-off-road vehicle accidents.
Between 2004 and 2009, there were a total of seven fatal collisions that killed eight people, including a cyclist. During this same time period, there were 77 non-fatal injury collisions involving 131 people. Thirty-seven percent of these accidents involved vehicles running off the right shoulder of the highway and 14 percent percent of all accidents involved bicycles.
One of the proven methods to improve safety in this type of situation is to construct rumble strips. Studies of milled freeway shoulder rumble strips in Michigan and New York document a drift-off-road crash reduction between 38 percent and 79 percent.
Caltrans will work with the community to maintain the Highway 1 corridor while improving the safety for all users of the state highway system. We are in the initial scoping stages of this safety project and construction is not expected to begin until a year or two from now. Caltrans’ dialog with the bicycle community will continue and input from the cyclists is important to us.
We are thankful that the California Bike Advisory Committee joined the California Office of Transportation Safety on a Rumble Strip Task Force to explore eleven types of rumble strip patterns that may be most conducive to driver safety and for cyclist safety. The task force and Caltrans’ efforts received favorable comments from the cyclists who helped develop the 2001 Report Evaluation of Milled-In Rumble Strips, Rolled-In Rumble Strips and Audible Edge Stripe.
When this project is complete, it is my sincere hope that it reflects the needs of the community who share our goal of maintaining safety for all users on this scenic stretch of Highway 1.