What’s the speed limit on Salinas Road?, reader asks

Dear Street Smarts, Q: First question: When bikes come to a stop sign and pedestrian crosswalk, are they supposed to get off their bikes and walk them across the intersection? Second question: Why isn't there enforcement at the Storey and King street intersection? Many cars do the 'California Stop' there and I've witnessed plenty of close calls in that intersection. Third question: What is the speed limit on Salinas Road? If there are no speed limit signs, then the speed limit drivers can't go over is 65 mph. Does this mean the speed limit on that road is 65 mph? Someone really needs to look into this and get some signs put up -- for safety purposes. Steve Welch, Santa Cruz

A: Below are the answers to your questions:

Answer No. 1

Crosswalks are for pedestrians. If cyclists want to use crosswalks, they must dismount their bikes and walk across the street. If they prefer not to dismount, they can ride through intersections using the traffic or bicycle lane after obeying traffic signals or signs governing the intersection.

Answer No. 2

The Santa Cruz Police Department is well aware of the issues at Storey and King and regularly enforce that intersection, said Deputy Chief Steve Clark. He has alerted his traffic supervisor to your concerns. He also reminds Santa Cruzans that traffic officers have an entire city to monitor, including responding to collisions, investigating injury and fatal crashes, following up on hit and run collisions, and acting as back-up response to calls for help. “With recent personnel cuts, our traffic unit was reduced by 1/3,” he said. This reduces the amount of unobligated time they have for enforcement activities.” Clark suggested citizens seeking to report problem traffic areas do so online at http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?page=1132. Click on “Traffic Concern” and request additional enforcement, he said. Meanwhile, read his blog about increased traffic enforcement around schools at http://santacruzpolice.blogspot.com/.

Answer No. 3

Motorists on Salinas Road are to follow the basic speed law, which says that drivers must not travel faster than it's safe to do so given the conditions at the time. Those conditions include the weather and the amount of pedestrians and cyclists on the road. California law states that the speed limit on two lane highway is 55 mph and that for a three or more lane highway is 65 mph. Salinas Road features both of those lane configurations and motorists are to adjust their speed accordingly. In regard to posting speed limit signs, Monterey County would have to perform a speed survey, which helps determine the safe speed for that road, said Neal Thompson, traffic engineer. While noting that many rural roads in Monterey County do not have posted speed limit signs, he said doing the survey and posting speed limit signs are two things the county will have to look into for Salinas Road.
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