Reader to Santa Cruz: Cite cyclists, install left turn lane on Ocean Street at Broadway

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I encounter bicyclists daily and try to share the road with them but most of the time, they don't adhere to the rules -- running stop signs, amongst a myriad of other vehicle violations. When will we see law enforcement handling these issues? Oh, and by the way, what about the signal at Broadway and Ocean Street? When one car makes a left turn, it backs up traffic all the way to Water Street. A left turn signal would help. Broadway has one. Gregory Adams via email A: “Bicyclists are subject to the very same rules of the road as are vehicles,” said Deputy Chief Steve Clark, of the Santa Cruz Police Department. “As such, bicyclists are cited when they violate traffic laws.” Clark didn't have specific numbers available by the time this was published, but said his department does “a fair amount of bicycle enforcement. Enforcement is contingent upon the officer actually witnessing the violation and not being en route to another call or situation of a higher priority.” Ultimately, “the only way the transportation system works, is when everyone does their part and follows the rules of the road,” said Clark. When all the parts aren't working in unison, his department is there to help, he said. In regard to the turn lane on Ocean at Broadway, “there is no room for a left-turn lane without widening the street or removing a through lane, which would create more congestion,” said Chris Schneiter, assistant director of the city's public works department. “Next year we will study the intersection to determine left-turn restrictions – probably time limited, like peak hour or during the summer.” As for widening the intersection, that's part of a bigger project planned for the area, dubbed the Ocean Street Plan. That will go to the city council soon, Schneiter said. Start Smart in Scotts Valley May 5 On Thursday, the California Highway Patrol and Scotts Valley Police will join forces to teach “Start Smart,” a course for teens and their parents/guardians aimed at reducing the number of traffic collisions that involve young drivers. Through discussion and video, officers will cover collision avoidance techniques, collision causing elements, driver responsibilities and local traffic collision trends. There also will be testimonials from parents who've lost children to traffic collisions. Free, two hour Start Smart course will begin at 6 p.m. May 5 in the Scotts Valley City Council Chambers at One Civic Center Drive. Reserve seats by calling Lt. John Hohmann at 440-5653. Commuter stories sought Do you commute on Highway 1, 9, or 17? We want to know if you think the highways are safe. Where are the trickiest spots? Have improvement projects like the ones at Glenwood and Laurel curves on Highway 17 made your commute safer? What changes would you like to see? Please submit your thoughts here, to streetsmarts@santacruzsentinel.com or via Facebook or Twitter. Your comments may appear in an upcoming story. Please include your name, city of residence and a phone number where you can be reached.
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