Cracking down on Mission Street speeders not easy, police say

Dear Street Smarts, Q: In response to the suggestions on how to deal with Mission Street problem, one major problem was not mentioned. Speeding is rampant with zero police enforcement. Since Measure H was heavily pushed and passed with the promise of more police officers, why has that not come to fruition? Since we have only gotten "rent a cops" from First Alarm out of Measure H funds, is there some way they could help with traffic enforcement? Pedestrian and cyclist safety are given consideration in cities that evolve with population growth. Right now Mission Street is headed towards becoming a full force freeway unless major changes are made. Twenty years ago, one could ride a bike on Mission Street. Now that is a very scary ordeal. Looking the other way will do nothing to solve the problems. Have a great day, Kelly Newman, Santa Cruz A: Santa Cruz Police officers are out there enforcing traffic laws; however, laws surrounding enforcing speed on Mission Street are tying the department's hands. “The lack of police enforcement for speed on Mission Street is not due to police department inattention,” said Deputy Chief Steve Clark. “In 2003, Caltrans started work to renew the 'Engineering Traffic Survey' for Mission Street between Chestnut and the city limits. That survey revealed the necessity to raise posted speed limits from 25 mph to 30 mph in several segments of Mission Street.” Not raising the posted speed limit would create an illegal speed trap for using radar enforcement practices, he said. Speed limits on roads and highways are based on the 85th percentile speed of free-flowing traffic. That is called the safe speed. Since the safe speed for Mission is above the posted 25 mph, officers cannot use radar to enforce traffic laws there, Clark explained. In recent years, public works has conducted speed surveys around town and the city has been raising speed limits on certain street segments. Morrissey between Highway 1 and Soquel Avenue is one example. In regard to Mission Street, back in 2003, “the city council objected to raising the posted speed limit,” Clark said. “As such, new speeds were not posted and Caltrans did not complete the survey.” For Caltrans to perform a new survey, it requires the city to raise posted speed limits based on recommendations, according to Clark and Susana Cruz of Caltrans. Learn more about the setting of speed limits by visiting www.dot.ca.gov and typing "Realistic Speed Zoning" into the search field. If you want to give police officers the tools they need to crack down on speeders on Mission Street, write to your city council representative and encourage him or her to support raising the posted speed limit. Meanwhile, Street Smarts is working on a similar speed-based topic for Highway 17. Do you think the speed limit should be raised from the current 50 mph speed limit posting through the mountainous portion of the highway on both sides of the county line? With recent improvements along the highway, a higher speed limit may be warranted. In my experience, motorists already travel an average of 60 mph through that segment , in good conditions, of course. Stay tuned.
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7 Responses to Cracking down on Mission Street speeders not easy, police say

  1. Anonymous says:

    Kelly Newman, tried to sue the City because she let her daughter walk through moving traffic and got hit. Kelly Newman, Perrenial Straw Soap Box for People Power and Micah Posner. Your letter backfired, didn’t it? Kelly Newman wouldn’t know what Santa Cruz was like twenty years ago, because she moved here about five years ago.nnMission Street is a connector road to a freeway, Hwy 1 and is a major entrance to Santa Cruz. Ever hear about population growth or tourism?

  2. Mark Nockleby says:

    Q: Ever hear about population growth or tourism?nnnnA: “Pedestrian and cyclist safety are given consideration in cities that evolve with population growth.”

  3. Anonymous says:

    As quoted by Kelly Newman, a dubious spokesman.

  4. As I have been recommending for years…Mission Street speeding can be addressed and mitigated by solar powered radar speed limit signs like on Morrissey Street with possibly even video recording of speeders. It’s called “deterrence”.

  5. Joseph McGough says:

    When will Santa Cruz grow up and realize how the world works? This sleepy-beach-town act is getting really, really old. Increased speed limits are something that comes with population growth and the corresponding increase in traffic. Santa Cruz did the right thing by raising the speed limit on Mission and should increase it to 35 mph in all likelyhood. Eventually the citizens of SC will learn how to cross the street and ride bicycles like human beings. Until that day, enjoy the 70’s daydream SC.

  6. Local God says:

    But then we’d have to get off the continuous bong.

  7. Mark Nockleby says:

    the answer to your question was in her letter. Yes she has heard of population growth. Everybody has. I’m not really sure what tourism has to do with anything. Does Santa Cruz attract a particularly dumb sort of tourist that hasn’t seen cyclists using the street before?

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