Readers offer traffic congestion busting ideas

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Dear Ramona- Thank you for the opportunity to submit questions for your upcoming interview. I am 83 years old and have lived in Santa Cruz my entire life. My question is whatever happened to the four lane road we were promised that would have taken traffic from Highway 1 just north of River Street, through Pogonip and rejoin Highway 1 north of the city? This would have eliminated all the Mission Street traffic we have today. This plan predated the university, but it was also promised to the university and was called the 'eastern access.' Thank you for your time, Donaldine McRae,  Santa Cruz A: Lack of community support was the reason behind this proposed project's demise, said Chris Schneiter, assistant director of the city's public works department. "After much debate over the years, the community at large did not want to build a road through Pogonip," he explained.  "It's a similar story to the former road through Arana Gulch." Meanwhile, here are other gridlock unraveling suggestions from Street Smarts readers: Bruce Koehler -- "It's well known what a mess traffic is during rush hour - between Capitola and Santa Cruz. Capitola Road should be four lanes or three lanes with a 'reversible lane' during rush hour. We spent a lot of tax dollars to make Capitola Road two lanes by adding trees in the roadway with little curbs around them. Those should be removed, with no parking allowed during rush hour. This would double the traffic capacity. The only 'problem area' would be that little snaky section between 30th Ave and Maciel -- and it wouldn't take much to remedy that." Steve Piercy -- "The problem is not traffic congestion. It's merely a symptom of many underlying problems, including:
  • Decades of building infrastructure for the movement of automobiles instead of people and goods;
  • Poor decisions about land use and development resulting in suburban sprawl;
  • Inadequate mixed use that increases the distances people must travel between locations; and
  • Disregard of safety, quality of life, and health * social and economic inequity
If we work on, and prioritize funding toward solving those underlying problems, then there will be a gradual cessation of traffic congestion. In general, it is much more cost effective to spend money on prevention of congestion than trying to build your way out of it." Keep your ideas coming in!
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