Discussing safety on Highway 17

The Santa Cruz County Traffic Operations Oversight Committee and Safe on 17 Task force will meet 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday at at the San Jose area CHP office, at 2020 Junction Ave., to discuss safety efforts along Highway 17. The group, made up of law enforcement, transportation planners and politicians from both sides of the hill, will hear collision and traffic enforcement updates as well as learn how the temporary barrier at Highway 17 and Laurel Road is working to prevent crossover collisions.The barrier was installed last spring after a man died when his car crossed the double yellow line there, striking an SUV. According to collision data from the San Jose area CHP office, crashes were down in 2012 at 178, compared to 191 last year. That's in stark contrast to the 435 collisions logged in 1998.Meanwhile, there was one fatality in April 2012, compared to no deaths in all of 2011. The group also will discuss a proposal to implement a 511 traffic alert system in the Monterey Bay. The project report suggests linking to Caltrans' Quickmap is the most cost effective way to provide motorists with real time traffic conditions on local highways and roads, such as lane closures, travel times, and impacts from weather, special events and emergency situations. It also could be used to provide transit schedules, carpool matching services, as well as bicycle and pedestrian resources. Meanwhile, the bidding process is to begin the Freeway Service Patrol, the free driver assistance program on Highways 1 and 17. Felton-based Ladd's Towing is the current company providing free tire changes, jump starts and localized towing services. The full agenda is available at http://sccrtc.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/2013-03-13-safe-on-17-TOS.pdf. AARP Driver Safety Class Schedule Seniors seeking to buff up on traffic law, as well as learn the ways aging and medications impact their driving abilities can sign up for classes through the AARP's Driver Safety program. Participants must attend the entire session to get credit for the course, which may net them a discount of up to 10 percent with their automobile insurance carrier. The two-day, 8-hour courses meet 12:30-4:30 p.m. each day. Dates and locations are as follows.
  • March 19 and 21, as well as April 16 and 18 at the Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St., Santa Cruz;
  • April 29 and 30 at the Watsonville Adult Center, 294 Green Valley Road, Watsonville; and
  • May 11 and 18 at the Scotts Valley Senior Center, 1370 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley.
There also are a couple 4-hour refresher courses available. They are:
  • 9a.m.-1 p.m. April 18 at Montevalle, 552 Bean Creak Road, Scotts Valley; and
  • 12:15-4:45 p.m. June 22 at the Louden Nelson.
For information about the Watsonville session, call Kristin at 724-1873. For all the other courses, call Fred Dunn-Ruiz, AARP Driver Safety course coordinator, at 426-6472.
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