Public works staffers earn kudos from cyclist

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I want to give my 'high 5,' 'thumbs up, '+1,' and 'Likes' to Graham Jones and Cheryl Schmitt of the City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department. Cheryl is the Transportation Coordinator. I sent an email to her with photos and locations of some vegetation that had overgrown into the bike lane along Bay Street, which is a frequently used bike lane on the route up to UCSC. I asked her who is responsible for keeping plants trimmed so they don't cause cyclists to divert into the traffic lane. She said she'd take care of it. Within 2 weeks, the plants had been trimmed back. Graham is a Traffic Signal Technician. I contacted him about an on-demand traffic signal that wasn't detecting bicycles when they were on the pavement loop detector. He met me at the intersection and adjusted the controller until it reliably detected my bike, and he was happy to do it. I appreciate their responsiveness. I encourage anyone who finds a problem related to the streets, bike routes, traffic signals, street markings, and the like, report the problem rather than just grumbling about it. The City staff can't fix problems unless they become aware of them, so public input is important to keeping our streets safe and traffic flowing smoothly. You can submit emails to Cheryl at and she'll take care of it or forward the report to the appropriate staff member in the City. If the problem is in the County of Santa Cruz outside of a city, or if you don't know which city it's in, submit a hazard report to the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission at The report will be forwarded to the appropriate agency. Stanley Sokolow, Santa Cruz A: Thank you. I will spread the word. Pedestrian safety A few weeks ago, a reader who's an avid walker wrote in to encourage drivers to look both ways before crossing a sidewalk when exiting driveways. Pedestrians may be near. A recent incident made me want to reiterate the importance of drivers treating sidewalks as limit lines at stop signs. I was driving home from dropping off the kids at school when I saw a runner coming in my direction on the sidewalk just ahead to my left. Suddenly, a black vehicle appeared out of a driveway and stopped across the sidewalk. The driver was looking in the opposite direction of the runner. She never once looked to her left. She never saw him. The guy's guardian angels were working overtime that day, as he was just a few strides from the driveway when the car appeared. Without being thrown off his rhythm, the runner hopped behind her car and kept running down the sidewalk. Drivers, please, stop before you cross the sidewalk, look both directions to make sure the coast is clear or, at least, that there is no one close enough for you to do damage to, then proceed on your way when it is safe to do so. This is especially true at driveways that have buildings, hedges and fencing that impede the ability to see who may be using the sidewalk as you approach the driveway's edge. Remember, sidewalk users include everyone from able-bodied adults to wheelchair users and the blind to children running, walking, biking or skating with their parents.
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