Sidewalk safety improvements coming near south county’s Lakeview Middle School

Last week's guest column from Karena Pushnik of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation commission garnered many responses from readers seeking information regarding sidewalk safety hazards. One such complaint was in regard to the lack of a sidewalk for students of Lakeview Middle School, on East Lake Avenue – or Highway 152 – at Holohan Road outside of Watsonville, where students must walk along the side of a well-traveled area that carries fast moving traffic to get to and from school. Good news: pedestrian improvements for Holohan are on the way for the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to county public works. “We are well aware of the situation and have been working with Caltrans for several years to get a project going here,” said Jack Sohriakoff, senior civil engineer for the department. So far, the fruits of their labor include a Safe Routes to School grant for $540,000 and a $500,000 commitment from Caltrans to build the improvements, he said. The county also has a $20,000 air quality grant for bike lanes on Holohan Road, Sohriakoff added. “We have met with the community several times over the past few years and have recently started the design phase,” he said. “We now have two years to design, acquire right-of-way, conduct environmental studies, and relocate utilities. We hope to start construction in the fall of 2013.” The improvements to Holohan Road include a separate right turn lane, while the two existing lanes will become a shared through and/or left turn lane, explained Sohriakoff. When the dust settles, there also will be a separate left turn lane added into the mix that will allow a dual left turn onto Highway 152, he said. “Sidewalks and crosswalks will be constructed at all four corners of the intersection and the traffic signal will be modified to accommodate pedestrian crossings,” Sohriakoff said. “Bike lanes will be constructed on the last 1,000 feet of Holohan Road to complete the bike lanes on that street.” Sidewalk safety reports Emails also were received from homeowners seeking to know their responsibilities to keep sidewalks safe. Visit www.sccrtc.com to access the Pedestrian Maintenance Report, which was researched and written by the Pedestrian Safety Work Group, a subcommittee of the RTC's Elderly & disabled Transportation Advisory Committee. View the report at http://www.sccrtc.org/pdf/2010/SidewalkMaintenanceReport2010.pdf. Check out the appendices at http://www.sccrtc.org/pdf/2010/SidewalkMaintenanceReport2010Appendices.pdf. Pages of interest include:
  • Overview of Local Jurisdiction Practices, document page 15 or web page 19;
  • Follow up recommendations, document pages 16-17or web pages 20-21;
  • City of Santa Cruz assessment, appendix pages A-13 to A-25 or web pages 15-27;
  • Excerpt from the California Streets and Highway Code, Chapter 22, Article 2, Section 5610, appendix page D-14 or web page 128.
Report sidewalk safety problems at http://www.sccrtc.org/pdf/PAR.pdf. Sidewalk safety concerns reported here go to RTC staffers who then forward the complaints to the appropriate local jurisdiction for action.
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