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Apr 19th
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Supervisor Bruce McPherson

Bruce McPherson2What projects are on the horizon to improve traffic flow and safety in the San Lorenzo Valley?

Highway 9 is the main traffic corridor of the San Lorenzo Valley, running through and connecting the communities of Felton, Ben Lomond, Brookdale, and Boulder Creek. Because it is a state highway, under the jurisdiction of Caltrans rather than the County Department of Public Works, it also creates special challenges for our communities.

Earlier this year, over the course of a series of town plan meetings, residents of each of the towns said that Highway 9 issues were chief among issues they would like addressed. In response, we formed a Highway 9 corridor advocacy group to address those concerns.

In September a coalition of political, business, and community leaders convened on a chartered Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (Metro) bus to identify trouble spots and areas in need of infrastructure improvements. Among the group were representatives of Caltrans, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, Metro, chambers of commerce and business associations, the County Public Works Department, the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District, and my office.

We worked to identify both easily achievable projects like landscaping, tree removal, lighting, painting, and striping, as well as longer-term projects that will require planning and more funding, such as bicycle and pedestrian paths.

Foremost on the list of projects are a series of traffic and safety improvements in front of San Lorenzo Valley High School. Caltrans plans new reflective striping, widening at the "waiting spots," and overhead pedestrian crosswalk beacons. Meanwhile, Metro has plans to improve the bus shelters and install a bus pass vending machine that will offer discounts to passengers and shorten the time for passengers to get on and off the bus. Caltrans, Metro, and school district staff are working together to coordinate the improvements.  

Residents are also working with my office and Caltrans to identify and replace street signs. Improvements are being considered for the Metro stop in Boulder Creek. We are also coordinating work to replace streetlights.

What is the state of the issue of homelessness in your district, particularly in downtown Felton, and whaT plans are there to address it?

The 2013 Census of Homeless in Santa Cruz County estimated there are about 160 unsheltered homeless in the San Lorenzo Valley, out of a total of 3,500 countywide. This is a 30 percent increase across the county over the past two years. More than four in five were unsheltered, with 54 percent living on the street and in encampments and 28 percent living in vehicles.

Like elsewhere in the county, most of the unsheltered homeless people in the San Lorenzo Valley have a disabling condition, such as mental illness, alcohol or drug addiction, or a developmental disability. They are most visible in downtown Felton where there are several hangout spots. There are more methamphetamine and heroin addicts than in the past; there are also more young addicts.

We have a very active volunteer group in Felton that works weekly, if not daily, cleaning garbage and debris from encampments. This group works in conjunction with the homeless and the Sheriff’s Office to give notice as to when encampments will be removed. My office is also participating in the Santa Cruz Public Safety Citizen Taskforce and the Smart Solutions to Homelessness. I look forward to hearing their recommendations.

Because both homelessness and crime are strongly linked to substance abuse, prevention and treatment are crucial, especially intervention programs in schools. Santa Cruz County has many wonderful programs, but they are insufficiently funded.  

At the same time, I would like to see more emphasis on personal accountability in the treatment programs and services provided. For instance, those who seek services should have proof of residency so that we take care of our own residents first.

Preventing homelessness is also essential. We need to focus both on providing the outreach and services needed—such as rent and mortgage assistance and employment—to keep people sheltered as the front line in preventing homelessness.   

Comments (4)Add Comment
Graham Hill Rd is just as important
written by Theryl McCoy, November 10, 2013
Graham Hill Rd is the expressway to SLV with tens of thousands of people driving this road daily. The Hwy 9 south of Felton is too much of a meandering tourist road and not a feasible commute route. I would like to see a moratorium on all new stop lights on Graham Hill Rd, and I would like to see Lockhart Lane turned into a one-way street to Mt Herman Rd. It is a waste of time and gas for SLV residents to have to stop for a couple dozen Lockhart residents who want a short cut. Graham Hill Rd is too major an artery to get clogged up!
...
written by Localdude, November 10, 2013
So, Mr. McPherson took a few folks for a free bus ride, nothing more, at taxpayer expense for a few folks he choose to talk to, to find out something so simple it doesn't take a bus ride to figure out....The SLE has problem with traffic flows at times. That is his big achievement and discovery? Nothing material has been done, while he collects pay from taxpayers for a year already.
McPhereson, big name, big bucks, big talk, small results.
written by Localdude, November 09, 2013
Mr. McPherson, who lives in gated golf course Pastiempo, took applauders, on a bus tour, paid by taxpayers, a non achievement as his achievement. Aat taxpayer expense, just talk, no action after a year. Talk is cheap. Any two parents could have told him: Hwy 9 at SLE is a problem. Bruce produced in his first year zero results for SLV. Big ego. Bruce, totally absent in any meeting about the SLVWD's rate hike, to build their Campus for themselves rather than fix infrastructure. SLVWD and McPHerson, Big Birds, feathering their nests.
...
written by Stacey@#$%^&^%, November 05, 2013
The meetings, suggestions, and plans preceded McPherson, and he only started participating after his election. The other candidates continued to be involved.

This is basically the same boilerplate he's given the other papers, usually fronted by some other citizen or other for him. It's a bit disconcerting to see it over and over.

What is his solutions? We know what the problems are.

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