Unkempt sidewalks, Mission Street gridlock meet readers’ ire

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Who is responsible for the sidewalk in front of Cafe Sparrow in Aptos? It is in terrible shape. I use a walker and it is very difficult to enter the restaurant from the adjacent parking lot. Carol Toney, Aptos A: The property owner is responsible for the upkeep of sidewalks, according to officials with count public works and the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission. You can report sidewalk problems in the unincorporated parts of the county to the Public Works Encroachments office by calling 454-2160 or via email to dpwweb@co.santa-cruz.ca.us. A place to report unkempt sidewalks – and bike lanes – no matter the jurisdiction is by filing a Hazard Report with the RTC at http://sccrtc.org/services/hazard-reports/. “Items such as tip and trip hazards, vegetation overgrowth, and other barriers can be reported using this online, interactive form, which can even include a photo,” said Karena Pushnik, agency spokesperson. “All five local jurisdictions have processes in place to notify property owners of their maintenance responsibilities.” Some jurisdictions have programs aimed at expediting sidewalk repair, she explained. “For example, in the city of Watsonville, residents can hire their own contractor or use the city's contractor and no-interest loan program,” said Pushnik. Learn more by viewing the Pedestrian Safety Work Group's report on local sidewalks at http://sccrtc.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/SidewalkMaintenanceReport2010.pdf. Q: Something has to be corrected as to the timing of the signal lights at Mission and Chestnut, verses the signal lights at Mission and King. The lights at Chestnut turn red, which promptly backs up traffic going southbound on Mission. A few seconds later the light coming off King turns green and there is nowhere to go because of the traffic stopped on Mission. When the Chestnut light finally turns green, traffic starts to move, then the light on King promptly turns red, stopping the King Street traffic after only two of three cars get through. Recently, at about 1 p.m. it took us about 20 minutes to travel from the High Street intersection with Storey to get through the King and Mission light. There has to be some coordination between the two traffic lights to solve this on-going problem. No meetings, no studies, no reviews – just solve the problem. Thank You, Bill Robinson, Santa Cruz A: Caltrans has spent considerable time at these two intersections trying to make them more efficient, said Susana Cruz, spokesperson. But the road there is over capacity, maxed out with cars. Drivers should perhaps use other routes, she suggested. Traffic engineers will be out again this week to see if there is anything more they can do to help keep cars moving, she said. Recently, Caltrans blocked left turns for northbound vehicles, which were making illegal U-turns from as far as three cars back from the limit line, said Cruz.
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