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Pacific Avenue Poll Results

news3333All of this talk about the proposal to convert Pacific Avenue into a two-way street got us wondering what you, the general public, think of the idea. City officials seem to be onboard with the plan, which was the brainchild of urban retail expert Robert Gibbs, and you can read what some downtown business owners think in the article that begins on page 6. But what do you think? To find out, we ran a poll on our website, gtweekly.com, from Tuesday, June 12 through Thursday, June 21. The survey was simple, reading “I believe the street layout of Pacific Avenue should be …” with the following options to choose from: two-way for traffic; one-way the whole way; a pedestrian mall; left as is; and “other.” 

Of the 149 total responses, 98 were in favor of a pedestrian mall. The next most popular answer was “left as is,” which came in at 25 votes. Converting Pacific Avenue to a two-way street got 10 votes, while a one-way option received eight. There were eight write-ins for the “other” option, which ranged from “bicycle only” and “a pedestrian mall with a two-way bike trail” to “left as is and slowly transitioned to a pedestrian mall starting with a once-a-month closure for First Fridays.” Interesting, sure, but keep in mind that there was no limit on the number of times someone could vote.

While we were at it, Good Times also conducted an informal poll on Pacific Avenue on the afternoons of Wednesday, June 20 and Friday, June 22. Of 42 total respondents, 26 were Santa Cruz County residents and 16 were visiting from outside the area. When asked if they found the current traffic pattern in Downtown Santa Cruz confusing, non-residents tended to say yes, while a majority of residents said no—19 (nine residents and 10 non-residents) said it is confusing, while 23 said it is not (17 residents and six non-residents). A majority in both groups said Pacific Avenue is currently bike and pedestrian friendly (20 residents and nine non-residents).

As for the various possibilities for transforming Pacific Avenue, the prospect of a pedestrian mall earned the most votes (18 total, comprised of 10 from locals and eight from visitors), followed closely by “leaving the traffic layout the same as it is now” with 17 votes (13 from residents and four from non-residents). Converting the avenue to a two-way street garnered a total of two votes (both from residents), while making it one-way earned five votes (four from visitors and one from a Santa Cruzan).

Meanwhile, plenty of you weighed in on our Facebook page and website with your opinions and ideas. One comment on the June 14 article “Why Two-Way?” seems especially poignant now, given the number of our survey respondents who said they would prefer a pedestrian mall: “Strictly a pedestrian mall would be really cool to see, but I think that would be in a perfect world. I try to avoid driving on that road [Pacific Avenue] at all anyway. It's easy enough to park on Cedar or Center [streets] even, and walk over. I would imagine tourists would see otherwise though and they are the money makers.” So what is the best route for Pacific Avenue to take? Let us know what you think at gtweekly.com, on the Good Times Santa Cruz Facebook page, or by writing to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Comments (6)Add Comment
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written by Bob Sheehan, July 06, 2012
I believe that the happier the pedestrians are, the more trouble folks will go through to park remotely to experience the downtown culture and business. One way to get rid of the DO NOT ENTER signs is to incrementally remove the roadways all together and replace with pedestrian patio courtyards.One candidate section for starters is at the end of the Mall in front of the bookstore SC. That should draw more folks into the area. Other Mall road sections can eventually be replaced similarly over time allowing locals to adapt to traffic patterns.
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written by liveoaklinda, July 01, 2012
Fix the signage. I also like the idea of trying pedestrian-only on First Fridays. Allow more outdoor seating.
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written by JudiG, July 01, 2012
I thought about this yesterday as I drove down Pacific and saw people enjoying lunch at tables outside of Zoccoli's. Two-way traffic would only detract from such a 'cafe experience'. Who wants to breathe in additional exhaust fumes? They should try making Pacific one-way from Front St. to Cathcart and 2-way on the side streets off of Pacific, to make it less "confusing." I don't fully buy the out-of-town consultant's notions. Or else make a section pedestrian-only - perhaps 2 blocks. Walking is good for people!
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written by Elsie, June 28, 2012
Given the results of your informal poll, it seems as though the majority of Santa Cruz residents AND visiting tourists would like Pacific Ave. Mall to be pedestrian-only. Why are the downtown merchants so reluctant to give it a try? How else could they possibly know if its a viable idea or not? C'mon merchants: give this idea a chance. If it fails (I don't think it will), at least you acted fairly, and tried!
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written by Karkus, June 27, 2012
In the 60's Pacific Ave was a hugely popular place to cruise (cruz) in your hot rod or whatever. Young people would come from all over to do the circuit from Pacific (at Water) - to Front St - to Beach St, loop around at the end @ parking lot and go back. There was plenty of drinking and revving up your engine and other youthful amusements. The cops and business people didn't like the scene. This is likely the real reason why the traffic pattern downtown was changed...not just to widen the sidewalks. It's (not) funny how the winners always write the history and mostly everyone is fooled.
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written by Rich, June 27, 2012
Pacific Ave was two way in the biggining. We changed it to one way to make room for larger sidewalks. Being two-way I think would make access to both ends of the mall easier but not sure how we would go about going back from which we came? We would have to take back some sidewalk not sure how popular that would be. Being a pedestrain only mall just doesnt seem realistic. The only cost effective way to deal with this right now I think would be to leave it alone. How much would it cost to return Pacific to a two way st?? I dont even want to think about it.

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