Dear Street Smarts,
Q: When I travel northbound on the Morrissey Boulevard overpass, curve around next to Highway 1, and spill out onto Rooney Street, I’m always surprised that there are no stop or yield signs at that intersection. Can you explain why such a busy crossing remains safe with no traffic controls?
Curt Coleman, Santa Cruz
A: “The primary concern with making this a stop controlled intersection would be a likely increase in rear-end collisions with those accessing the intersection from the highway side,” said Chris Schneiter, assistant director of the city’s public works department. “It works now as there are stop controlled intersections at the intersections at Rooney and Elk and Pacheco and Morrissey, which meters the traffic and the speed of traffic through the intersection. The biggest complaints we get are related to congestion during the school drop off times.”
In the distant future, the intersection would disappear. The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission is undertaking “a detailed environmental impact analysis for the eight-mile stretch of the Highway 1 corridor from Santa Cruz to Aptos, including high occupancy vehicle lanes,” said Karena Pushnik, RTC spokesperson.
To be released in the spring of 2014, the document identifies a series of separate projects to be built “as the community can afford them on a pay-as-you-go basis,” she said.
The proposed Morrissey interchange reconstruction project would cost $38-$40 million and would occur based on its priority, Pushnik continued.
“It’s likely that projects that improve the flow of traffic along the corridor – e.g. auxiliary lanes – would move forward sooner,” said Pushnik. “It should also be noted that as long as our community depends only on state and federal transportation funding sources, the pace of projects will be slower. Developing our own local funding mechanisms and becoming a self-help county, like the other 85 percent of California’s population, would enable the community to move forward with transportation projects faster, leverage greater amounts of state and federal dollars, and have more local control.”
Q: On West Cliff path, when does the city plan to re-stencil the ‘Keep to the right’ signs on the walkway? My wife and I walk or bike the path almost every day. We found that when the signs were visible, they helped to mitigate traffic confusion. Now that they are no longer there, or worn past recognition, folks seem to have forgotten the rules of right-of-way.
Steve Howells via email
A: “We have ‘keep right’ stencils on the pavement that we will redo as we repave the path,” said Chris Schneiter, assistant public works director.