Cyclists: take the traffic lane, choose alternate route at Soquel from B40 to Ocean

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Once again, I am writing to ask why there is no bicycle lane from the Branciforte Street intersection with Soquel Avenue to Ocean Street. Bicyclists are forced to ride on the sidewalk, risk their lives, and even if on the sidewalk, are often blocked by trucks. The outside lane becomes a turning lane a good half block before the Soquel/Ocean intersection, with literally nowhere for bicyclists to go. It is shocking that this has been allowed to continue, or should we call it laziness? Gloria Sams, Santa Cruz A: "There is a bike and in the uphill section, and sharrows in the downhill direction so that its easier for a bicyclist to get in the flow," said Chris Schneiter, assistant director of public works. "Unfortunately there is inadequate room to accommodate all the public's interests. The parking is very important to the businesses and the four vehicle lanes are very necessary for capacity. We did as much as we could with the available street width and within the public process." Depending on comfort level, cyclists should take the lane and ride with motor vehicle traffic or choose an alternate route. Arana Gulch Multi-Use Trial dedication, ribbon-cutting ceremony Rain or sign, the public is invited to celebrate the official opening of the new Arana Gulch Multi-use Trail 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14. The family friendly gathering will be at the Hagemann Gulch Bridge's Frederick Street Entrance. It's free and will feature the Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band, refreshments, city and county leaders, as well as environmental and construction tours! Park at the nearby Santa Cruz Bible Church, at 440 Frederick St., and Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, at 515 Frederick St. Bike valet parking will be provided by People Power of Santa Cruz County. For information, call (831) 420-5160. The impact of gas prices on traffic collisions NPR recently had a discussion about the possible link between gas prices and traffic collisions. The theory is that when gas prices are high, people drive less, lump errands together into one trip, start from the limit line at a slower pace and keep their speeds steady. The interview also determined that people with less money, including teens, don't drive as much because they can't afford the high cost of gas. However, with gas prices falling so low, the assumption is people are going to be driving more, including the younger, less experienced drivers, thus increasing traffic collisions and fatalities. What do you think about that assertion? Listen to or read the full interview at then tell Street Smarts. Your thoughts may appear in a future column.
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