Dear Street Smarts,
Q: I live on the corner of Winkle and Howe Streets. Thank you for replacing the stop sign, which took place on Monday, Dec. 3. However, this sign might as well read “GO FAST.” The total disregard for this stop sign is alarming. As a concerned parent for my own child’s safety, as well as all the children in my neighborhood, I would like to see some attention brought to this intersection. Regardless of budgetary restrictions, the safety of children should take precedent. Perhaps, one day spent handing out tickets – of which there will be many – would curb this reckless driving behavior. One can hope…
Jenny Morrison, Santa Cruz
A: A county public works official says the sign was removed twice then replaced twice.
“At this point I am hoping it is over, but there may be more to this than we thought,” said Jack Sohriakoff, senior civil engineer.
Meanwhile the CHP will keep an eye on things there.
“I can understand your reader’s concern,” said Officer Sarah Jackson, CHP spokesperson. “Failure to stop at a stop sign in a residential area like this certainly makes the roadway less safe for pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages, not to mention other drivers.”
Jackson has made officers who patrol your neighborhood aware of your complaint so they can “take appropriate action,” she added.
“Hopefully, if this is theft and/or vandalism, the additional law enforcement presence may help with that, too.”
While public works and law enforcement do their part to curb speeders in your neighborhood, there are some things communities can do to get lead-footed drivers to let up off their accelerator.
Here’s a list of ideas from Cheryl Schmitt, transportation coordinator for the city of Santa Cruz; Debbie Bulger, of Mission: Pedestrian; and Theresia Rogerson, county health services educator and coordinator of the Community Traffic Safety Coalition:
- Ask the agency to place a speed trailer at the location can help educate drivers about their speed;
- Lobby city and county leaders to fund traffic calming in their budgets.
Narrow the roadway, or give it a smaller feel, by parking cars on the street and planting trees;
- Give drivers the feel that the street is lived-in by walking and bicycling whenever possible, even if it’s as simple as going across the street to visit a neighbor; leaving a child’s toy or tricycle next to the curb; creating something of interest in your front yard, such as a flower display, balloons or sculpture; having a yard sale; and throwing a block party. Don’t block traffic to avoid needing a permit. Make sure to have people direct traffic at either end of the street, slowing cars down to 5-10 mph;
- And, of course, follow traffic laws, such as those for speed and giving pedestrians the right of way.
- If you live in the city of Santa Cruz, you may contact the Community Traffic Safety Coalition about buying a traffic calming trash can sticker. Order one at http://www.sctrafficsafety.org/sticker.html.