Contact Street Smarts
No patch job for Water Street
Dear Street Smarts, Q: Kudos to the street department for all the patching and repaving in Santa Cruz this summer. However, on Water Street down the hill from Branciforte Avenue, at the corner of Reed Way, it's broken and dipped and I'm being told there'll be no patches until Water Street is repaved in 2014. Considering the amount of traffic on Water Street, the noise and vibration is causing property damage and jangled nerves to the residents. Can you look into this? Your help with some patching would be much appreciated. Sincerely, Bobbie Hill, Santa Cruz A: Public works would like to come to your home to investigate the vibration you speak of, said Chris Schneiter, assistant director of the agency. As far as patching, the road needs more than that, he said. "The street needs to be repaved and portions reconstructed, not just patched," he said. "It’s on our long list of projects. We are hoping to bond for some street paving in the near future and this is likely to be one of those streets to get the attention it needs." Q: I was driving up Felton-Empire Grade Road and I noticed a sign that read 'Slow traffic MUST use turn outs.' I've never seen a sign like this before and think that maybe a neighbor made and posted these signs. Are they for real? I thought the law stated that you only need to pull over if there are more than five vehicles behind you. Thanks, Theryl McCoy, via email A: "Yes, these signs are real," said Jack Sohriakoff, senior civil engineer for the county's public works department. "The department was requested to install these signs by residents in the area who frequently travel this road, and after the turnouts were improved. It is not always necessary to post all information regarding the laws of the California Vehicle Code since all motorists are required to know the law. If there are numerous instances where slower vehicles are not using turnouts when required, and the CHP needs additional signage posted to enforce the five vehicle rule, then the department will post them as necessary." New lane configuration will stay People still grumbling about Capitola's changes to the intersection of Clares Street and 41st Avenue should know that the new figuration will stay. In July 2012, the city ended the three lane left turn from eastbound Clares onto northbound 41st. It made the right most lane a straight or right turn lane while allowing the center and left most lane to make the left turning movement. A study later that year showed the number of collisions fell by nearly half, said Rudy Escalante, chief of the city's police department. "Accidents at that intersection at the time of the hearing were at 5 for 2012 as compared to 2011 when we had 9," he said. Further more, statistics show there were 14 crashes at that intersection in 2007, 15 collisions in 2008, 11 in 2009 and 13 in 2010, he continued. When Street Smarts asked Steve Jesberg, Capitola's public works director, whether more changes were in store for the intersection, including returning it to its former configuration, the answer was: "Not at this time," he said. "We feel the changes have been an improvement to the safety of the intersection."