Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Oct 21st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Supervisor Ellen Pirie

traffic hwy1The Regional Transportation Commission has several big projects in the works, including on Highway 1. What will these accomplish, and when can residents expect completion?

There are several important projects under way through the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC). One is the Soquel Avenue/Morrissey Boulevard auxiliary lanes project on Highway 1. That’s a project that will add one lane on each side of the freeway between Soquel Avenue and Morrissey Boulevard. On average, that section of Highway 1 is used by more than 100,000 vehicles per day. The expectation is that these auxiliary lanes will reduce congestion and make entering and exiting the freeway safer in that area.    

Construction of the project has already started, as anyone who drives through that area knows. Trees are being removed to accommodate the additional width needed for the two new lanes. Fortunately, three new trees for every one removed will be planted, but the area will look a bit bare for a little while.

Part of this project is to replace the La Fonda Street Bridge over the freeway. The new bridge will have bike and pedestrian amenities that the old bridge didn’t have room for, such as sidewalks and bike lanes. The hope is that more people will walk or ride their bicycles if they feel safe doing so.

The Soquel Avenue/Morrissey Auxiliary Lane Project will be completed in 2013, hopefully before summer.

Another big project is the purchase of the rail line right of way. The RTC has been working on buying the rail right of way for many years and has been under contract with the current owner, Union Pacific, for more than 10 years. Several times we have thought that we were ready to close escrow only to have the rug pulled out from under us. We hope to complete the purchase this year.

The purpose of purchasing the rail line is to preserve the 31-mile long, unbroken series of land parcels for future transportation uses. Those transportation uses may be passenger rail, freight service, pedestrian and bicycle path, or a combination of those uses.

ellen pirie2Supervisor Ellen PirieUnion Pacific and the RTC were ready to complete the transaction this past December when the company selected to carry freight on the line and run passenger service from Santa Cruz to Davenport pulled out. The sad fact is that there is not enough freight business on the line north of Watsonville to justify the cost of running the service. Since the rail plan that had been approved by the federal government included freight service up to Santa Cruz, we will have to get their approval of a different scenario. It’s unclear how long it will take to develop that new scenario with a new partner and how long the federal review will take, but we are trying to move as quickly as possible.

Another Highway 1 project that the RTC has been working on for years is to widen Highway 1 by adding a center HOV (high occupancy vehicles, i.e. buses, carpools and emergency vehicles) lane in both directions. The Draft EIR is 95 percent complete and will be finished soon.

With global warming on everyone’s mind and research showing that bumper-to-bumper traffic is one of the worst producers of greenhouse gases, it would seem like the time had finally come to build this project. Unfortunately, the estimated construction cost is $500 million and neither the state nor the local governments have that kind of money. Instead the RTC may try to construct smaller pieces of the HOV project over time. One I’m particularly hoping for is the Mar Vista Pedestrian Bridge over Highway 1.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Field Work

Santa Cruz Mountain winemakers explain how the harvest works, and what kind of wine to expect from this year's crop

 

Libra's Two Choices

Libra (our last week) is the sign of creating right relations and values. In Libra we are asked to choose how to be, our identity in the world. We can maintain a hermetic sealed-off attitude (my life, my work, my money, etc.) or we can gain knowledge of world events and learn more about those in need. Libra is a group sign—self with others. Here are some events occurring in our world this week concerning food, poverty, spirituality, values and global realities. The UN (a spiritual experiment) each month places a “light” upon world problems. This week a light shines on Rural Women, Farms, Food & Poverty. Before we choose to respond we must have knowledge. “So we can each do our part.” Oct. 15 - International Day of Rural Women (unrecognized with few resources); Oct. 16 - World Food Day & Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth; Oct. 17 - Eradication of Poverty Day (international). During the month of Libra (with Saturn exalted), we pause, contemplate and assess what it is we know, don’t know, and need to know. Libra receives and distributes Ray 3 of divine intelligence, right relations, right choice and right economy (Venus). Use your intelligence “tips the Libran scales” in terms of being able to see and then choose between the two paths Libra offers (return to the past or step forward into Scorpio’s Discipleship). Libra (the oscillating light) prepares us for the great tests and conflicts in Scorpio. In Libra we are subtly tested as we learn the nature of polarized energies (s/he loves me, s/he loves me not). In Libra we learn more about ourselves through others. Libra’s Ray 3 asks us to become more adaptable and skillful. And then we are to teach each other what we know. In Libra, we all become teachers. In all these ways love is cultivated.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Docs Without Borders

United Nations Association Film Festival showcases documentaries from around the globe
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Nut Kreations

Co-owner Craig Olsen goes nuts over nuts

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Friends who are wine club members of Martin Ranch invited us to the winery’s fun and festive annual barbecue, where the wine is flowing and the food just keeps on coming. Music and dancing are part and parcel of the action, and a good time is guaranteed.

 

Beer Bus

Santa Cruz’s new Brew Cruz, award winning ales, mole by el Jardín, and Wildcat Ridge Chardonnay