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Wasn’t the widening work on Hwy 1 cast down by voters?, reader asks
Dear Street Smarts, Q: 1) I have been wondering why they are once again widening Highway 1 between Highway 17 and the Soquel Drive exit? I thought that we voted against that plan and the funding of same some years ago. What happened? I just think that it will bottleneck somewhere else, so it's a dog chasing its tail concept. We'll never catch up. 2) The signals at Chanticleer Avenue and Capitola Road are set for 'rush hour' in the morning and afternoon on weekdays. What this has come to mean is that the signal for Capitola Road traffic is green for an inordinate amount of time even if there is no traffic – and there often isn't – and the traffic on Chanticleer sits and sits and sits watching nothing go by. Why have they done this? Thanks for any and all information you can provide. Best, Donna Von Joo-Tornell, Santa Cruz A: 1) “In 2004, voters were asked to consider a half-cent sales tax that would have raised an estimated $577 million over 30 years to fund a package of nine transportation improvement projects,” said Karena Pushnik, spokesperson and senior transportation planner for the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission. Those projects included local street and road repair, a coastal bike/pedestrian trial, new lanes on Highway 1, bicycle and pedestrian bridges over Highway 1, Highway 1 Express Buses, Park and Ride Lots and Alternative Transportation programs, specialized transportation for seniors and disabled persons, Highway 17 safety programs, and developing a train station at the Watsonville/Pajaro junction. “This measure fell short of the 2/3 majority needed to pass. Because there was no exit poll, there is only speculation about why the measure failed.” Information about the project you see taking place now on Highway 1 is available at the RTC's website by clicking this link: http://sccrtc.org/projects/streets-highways/highway-1-aux-lanes/?PHPSESSID=799c19214f3d092113fc9a3a4af70f44. Also see this article in the Sentinel, http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_20285680/state-awards-8-9m-local-transportation-projects?IADID=Search-www.santacruzsentinel.com-www.santacruzsentinel.com. 2) “The two traffic signals at Capitola Road and Chanticleer Avenue, and Capitola Road and 17th Avenue are a coordinated system and are timed to accommodate the larger volumes of through traffic on Capitola Road during the peak commute times,” said Jack Sohriakoff, senior civil engineer with county public works. “Unfortunately, the side streets suffer more delay than usual when a coordinated system is activated. That is the nature of allowing through traffic the majority of green time.” Sohriakoff will have a traffic engineer and traffic signal maintenance contractor review the timing of the traffic light and “see if any adjustments can be made to ensure optimum operations of the system,” he said.