King Street needs paving, bike lanes, reader says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: King Street is a major thoroughfare and, for bicyclists, is often a suggested alternative to Mission Street. It is also used daily by countless school kids who are going to either Mission Hill Middle School or Santa Cruz High. The condition of this street creates extreme hazards to these riders, who run the risk of catching their tires in deep pavement grooves -- to say nothing of the teeth jarring bumps and potholes. A couple of years ago, an elderly man died when he hit one of these holes and went over his handle bars. In the meantime, I see seldom used cul de sacs and side streets get glassy new finishes. What gives? Is there any plan for King Street to get an upgrade or, better still, a bike lane? Many thanks, Maggie McKay, Santa Cruz A: The city's Public Works Department "is in the process of developing a multi-year paving plan for city streets," said Christopher Schneiter, assistant director of the agency. "Currently, King Street is in the first three years of the program. This is not a final plan as the utility coordination component has yet to be completed. We need to confirm if any sewer, water or other utility lines need to be upgraded before the street is paved." In regard to bike lanes, a process several years ago failed to yield a consensus of whether to build bike lanes, a bike boulevard, etc., because to do so would have been costly, as well as required the removal of parking and diverting traffic, he said. "Subsequently, 'Sharrows' were approved and installed for King Street as part of the Mission Street Alternative – Safe Rotes to School Project," said Schneiter. Q: Mid-county drivers have endured going on three years of road work on Soquel Drive, especially in Soquel Village. Just when we start to feel relief that the work is finally done, new 'road work ahead' signs reappear. This time, they say that we can expect delays until Oct. 20. The delays this morning at Porter and Soquel were horrendous. Do you have any idea why it is taking so long, and when we can look forward to no more work? Thank you, Cheryl Ridgway, Soquel A: There is no such thing as never any more road work but as far as the current project to replace water lines for the Soquel Creek Water District, that work should wrap up by the end of the month. Learn more about this project, taking place along Soquel Drive from the Cabrillo College area to 41st Avenue, at http://www.soquelcreekwater.org/. The project before this one was a county paving job on Porter Street. Stay abreast of county road projects at http://www.sccroadclosure.org/.
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