Buses, traffic create blind spots for drivers near UCSC

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Due to the large amount of traffic at the east entrance to UCSC, in my opinion, left hand turn lanes large enough to accommodate buses are necessary for turning left northbound onto Glenn Coolidge Drive from High Street southbound and for turning left southbound onto Bay Drive from High Street northbound. It is only a matter of time before there is a serious collision at this location due to the lack of visibility caused by large buses and the volume of traffic there. Thanks very much, Mark Buxbaum via email A: “We are studying the intersection and have hired a traffic consultant who is analyzing improving the intersection, either with left-turns and other improvements or constructing a roundabout,” said Chris Schneiter, assistant director of Santa Cruz's public works department. “We anticipate having that study available for public input in approximately six months.” Intersection geometrics makes adding left-turn lanes on High Street at Bay complicated, explained Schneiter. The city will work with the university on that, plus the need for a right-turn lane to the campus, while also accommodating “transit, bike and pedestrians in a safer and efficient manner. The public process will be advertised in the coming months,” he said. In other turn pocket news, the city this fall will add left-turn lanes to the intersection of Soquel Avenue and Park Way intersection in the fall, Schneiter revealed. Bidding will occur the summer after the Highway 1 auxiliary lanes project wraps up. “Project construction will be difficult due to the traffic and tight conditions,” he said. “We will make every effort to give the public advance notice of the construction start date.” Hand-held cellphone navigation is illegal Holding your cellphone in your hand while using it as a navigation device is illegal under California law, according to an appellate court in Fresno County. On Jan. 5, 2012, Steven R. Spriggs was pulled over and cited by the CHP for violating section 23123 of the California Vehicle Code. The law reads, “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.” Spriggs insisted the law didn't cover hand-held navigation use of cellphones. In their decision March 21, the justices said, “Our review of the statute's plain language leads us to conclude that the primary evil sought to be avoided is the distraction the driver faces when using his or her hands to operate the phone. That distraction would be present whether the wireless telephone was being used as a telephone, a GPS navigator, a clock or a device for sending and receiving text messages and emails.”
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