Trout Gulch at Soquel confusing, reader says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: The intersection at Trout Gulch and Soquel is confusing and, at times, dangerous. As one travels west on Trout Gulch, a stop sign next to the railroad crossing precedes the intersection by perhaps 20 feet. There is an automatic crossing guard for the railroad so the sign is clearly intended for the intersection which follows. Nevertheless, many who approach the intersection stop at the railroad, then again at the intersection. Furthermore, the last section of Trout Gulch approaching the intersection is frequently split by cars lining up on the right and left in anticipation of turning either direction at the intersection but the street has no dividing line to facilitate the split. A dividing line would clearly improve the speed and movement of traffic. Addressing these two problems would benefit many drivers. Andrew Colen, via email A: “Improvements for Trout Gulch Road are now being designed to comply with the Aptos Village Plan,” said Jack Sohriakoff, senior civil engineer for county public works. “The intersection of Soquel Drive/Trout Gulch Road will become signalized with new railroad crossing equipment, a wider railroad crossing to accommodate pedestrians, new sidewalk, and improved pavement conditions.” The two westbound lanes on Trout Gulch Road extended as requested, he added. “However, we did evaluate striping these lanes now as an interim measure but it just doesn't seem feasible with the current sidewalk and pavement conditions on Trout Gulch Road,” Sohriakoff explained. “All railroad crossing improvements must be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. The application process for that is expected to start very soon, but we also have to identify funding for all the improvements before we can bid the project.” Preliminary estimates say it'll cost $3.3 million to perform the portion of work at Soquel Drive and Trout Gulch Road, including two traffic signals and two railroad crossings, said Sohriakoff. Comment period ends Friday for Scenic Trail Network Draft Master Plan The deadline is Friday to comment on the Draft Master Plan for the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network project. The trail project will serve bicycle, pedestrian, wheelchair, and other non-motorized travel on a paved right-of-way separated from vehicular traffic along the Santa Cruz Branch rail right-of-way and adjacent to the train tracks, wherever possible. A network of trails will branch off from the main “rail trail” to provide connections to activity centers, coastal access points and other key destinations. All written comments will be considered in the preparation of the Final Master Plan. Submit them to the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission at info@sccrtc.org. For information and to sign up for e-news, visit www.sccrtc.org.
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