Aptos Village Plan to add pedestrian safety improvements

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I live off of Lori Lane across from the Post Office in Aptos Village. I am writing to you because I am concerned about the significant safety hazards on Trout Gulch Road at this location. There is a speed limit sign posted for 25 mph, which is small and often obscured by plant overgrowth, but it seems as if drivers go well beyond the designated limit. I am eight and a half months pregnant with my first child and trying to cross the street on foot from our home to the post office and the rest of Aptos Village is perilous at best, particularly because the road is concave -- i.e. curved in both directions -- at this location which reduces everyone’s line of sight. And there are no sidewalks or crosswalks to get around! Some of our neighbors have even said they’re afraid to leave the house unless it is by car due to the dangers at this intersection. This seems very counter-productive to the county’s goal of a 'walkable' Aptos Village. Moreover, even trying to pull out by car is frightening. By the time you look one way, a motorist will be barreling down or up the road at what feels like 45 mph if not more, coming from the other direction. This situation feels like an accident waiting to happen and I am wondering if you know of any plans that will rectify this hazardous zone once the plans for the new Aptos Village are in play or otherwise. Your insight is highly appreciated. Chloe Fabbri, Aptos A: The Aptos Village plan calls for a new sidewalk to be installed on the east side of Trout Gulch Road from Soquel Drive to Valencia Street, said Jack Sohriakoff, senior civil engineer for county public works. Furthermore, the existing sidewalk will be ripped out and a new traffic signal will go in at Soquel Drive and Trout Gulch Road. A pedestrian crossing will be added across the east side of the intersection of Soquel Drive at the new Aptos Street new sidewalk, he continued. "The sidewalk will not be constructed over the railroad crossing itself, but the new crossing will have concrete panels instead of the existing rubber panels," Sohriakoff explained. "A new crosswalk is proposed across Trout Gulch Road at the south side of Aptos Street -- or just north of the railroad crossing -- from Aptos Street to the Trout Gulch Crossing/Bayview Hotel properties." Buy that's not all. A new bus stop will go in on the north side of Soquel Drive just east of Trout Gulch Road with access via a new sidewalk, said Sohriakoff. The development project was approved by the Board of Supervisors on September 25, 2012. It calls for a new side street to be constructed off Trout Gulch Road, slightly offset north from Valencia Street. The existing crosswalk across Trout Gulch Road on the north side of the intersection with Valencia Street will remain. "The county has already designed a new crosswalk across Trout Gulch Road on the north side of the intersection with Cathedral Drive for access to the post office as a separate project," explained Sohriakoff. "This requires construction of a new ADA ramp which requires purchasing an easement from the adjacent property owner. Once we have that easement we are ready to construct it. These planned improvements will add two more crosswalks to this segment of Trout Gulch Road."
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