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Talking bus safety
Dear Street Smarts, Q: The pads that trigger the lights for the buses to leave the Pacific Station terminal onto Front Street are out of order. Every time I bring it up to the district they say it belongs to the city and do nothing. The problem I have is that passengers approach your bus as you wait for the light to cycle making an unsafe situation. Can you act as an intermediary, and alert the city of this unsafe situation? Thank you, Michael Cotroneo via email A: "The traffic signal technician tested the detection system at two different times (last Tuesday) and it was working fine,” said Chris Schneiter, assistant director of the Santa Cruz Public Works Department. “The bus driver does have to wait for his turn in the signal cycle to get a green. They do not have pre-emption capabilities, like emergency services.” Q: I've used those pads hundreds if not thousands of times, and if you hit it in the sweet spot which has gotten much smaller as they deteriorated, then it would trigger the light to go green. Considering that he is saying that there is no pre-emption capabilities, then waiting up to three minutes for the light to cycle would I guess be OK to him. Michael Cotroneo A: “A bus has a very large sweet spot to activate the loop and they don’t deteriorate,” Schneiter said. “They either work or they don’t, sometimes the detection signal can be amplified but that’s not necessary for a bus. That traffic signal is complicated and does have a relatively long background cycle as it also is being controlled by what happens at Front and Cathcart.” Q: Mr Cotroneo, can you offer some safety tips for bus riders in the situation you describe, where a bus is waiting for the signal light to change? Street Smarts, via email A: “It would be not to approach the bus while its waiting for the light,” said Cotroneo, adding that doing so is unsafe. Wharf to Wharf this weekend The 41st Annual Wharf to Wharf Race kicks off at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, July 28 in Santa Cruz. Expect road closures along the six mile “beach party fun run” route, which follows the winding, hilly coastal route to the Capitola Village attracts athletes from around the world. More than 50 bands, singers, dancers, drummers, clowns and other area acts will entertain and cheer on the runners as they make their way to the finish line. The race is a fundraiser for local youth health and fitness programs. Last year's event raised $380,000. For information, visit http://www.wharftowharf.com/.
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