New East Cliff Drive path for bikes and pedestrians, county says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: On Sunday evening, my wife and I took our dog for a stroll along the newly-renovated East Cliff Drive. What a great improvement! However, our evening stroll was made less enjoyable because of one thing – bike riders on the sidewalk. I seem to remember that the local bike community demanded that provision be made for them as part of this project and as a result, there is a very clearly marked bike lane on the road. Why is it then that some bike riders insist on being on the sidewalk? The sidewalk is a place for pedestrians not bike riders, especially when a perfectly acceptable place for them to ride is provided. Just as bike riders need to be separated from cars by a bike lane, so do pedestrians need to be separated from bike riders for the same reasons of safety. I am assuming that it is not legal for bike riders to be on the sidewalk in that area. I suggest that signs be posted along East Cliff Drive reminding them of that. Maybe that would help us pedestrians enjoy our evening stroll without having to constantly be on the lookout for bikes approaching and demanding right of way. Peter Haworth, Soquel A: Bicycle riders and pedestrians must share that path, said Joel La Cagnin of county public works. “The newly constructed pathway is intended for combined pedestrian and bicycle use similar to West Cliff Drive,” he said. “The project also incorporates a separated bike lane in the eastbound direction specifically for cyclists. Due to the limited width of the roadway caused by the eroding bluffs, there was not enough room for two-way vehicle traffic or two-way separated bike traffic. The use of these multi-modal facilities over time will become more apparent to all the users, and it is anticipated that all will share the limited space accordingly.” The project, which underwent an extensive public review process through the county's Redevelopment Agency, planning department and the California Coastal Commission, is not yet complete, he continued. “We are still considering other additions and/or changes to help organize the pedestrians and bicyclists, said La Cagnin. “With all of the improvements generally in place, we now have the chance to gather data and hear feedback so that further refinements can be considered.” Mail your feedback to Joel La Cagnin, County of Santa Cruz Department of Public Works, 701 Ocean Street, Room 410, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. You may also call him at 454-2799 or send a fax to 454-2385.
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