Sunday, June 22, 2008

Santa Cruz: King Street bikeway meeting

The city of Santa Cruz is studying the possibility of enhancing King Street as a bicycle route and an alternative over Mission Street. King Street is a residential collector running approximately parallel to Mission Street from near High Street in the north/east to Swift Street at the south/west.

View Larger Map

King has a 25 mph speed limit; actual speeds range from 25 to 29 mph. While King is a favored bike route today, traffic volume is heavy enough and the road narrow enough that motorists must frequently wait to pass cyclists who take the lane on King.

On Wednesday, June 25th, the city will host a public hearing to discuss the draft King Street Bikeway plan [PDF]. The meeting starts at 7pm and will be held in the Police Department Community Room at 155 Center Street in Santa Cruz.

On the agenda will be three options for King Street. People Power Santa Cruz supports two of the options and opposes the third.
  • People Power supports option 1, which is placement of five foot bike lanes to enable motorists to operate independently of bicyclists in the same direction. This option requires either the removal of parking on one side of the street, or widening the street to make room for the bike lanes.

  • People Power Santa Cruz also supports option 2, which is making King Street a "bicycle boulevard" by reducing motor vehicle traffic volume with traffic calming features such as barriers that allow bikes through but not cars. Diverting 5000 vehicles per day from King onto neighboring streets will increase already heavy traffic volume on the adjacent streets. I can anticipate heavy opposition for this option from residents on neighboring streets.

  • People Power opposes an "option 3", which is really a part of Option 1 in the draft plan. This is a daytime only parking prohibition along King Street. Parking is prohibited during the day -- this parking area becomes a clear bike lane for cyclist use. In the evenings, cyclists use King Street like they do today, by taking the lane. The planners state they see this "option 3" as an interim solution until funding can be obtained to widen King Street for bike lanes.
Other elements of the draft plan include discussion of door zones, removing stop signs to encourage more cyclists on King Street, "encouraging safe lateral positioning" (aka "taking the lane") through the use of sharrows and other pavement markings, signs on Mission to inform cyclists of a "Mission Street Bypass," and encouraging caution by motorists by removing the centerline on King.

Read the Santa Cruz King Street bicycle route draft plan here [PDF].


bikesgonewild said...

...fritz...i'm assuming points A & B on that map allow access to king st. through the use of traffic lights but i wonder about the safety of those ingress & egress points...

...using & knowing the area as well as you do, what's your personal take on the situation ??? what do you think would be safest reasonable situation & what would you prefer to see done ???...

...i ask, fritz, because while i'm familiar w/ the traffic & dangers of mission st., i'm not versed in the alternatives...

Fritz said...

I've never been on more than short sections of King.

I intended to ride King Street over the weekend before posting this but spent the weekend with friends and family instead :-)

king street old timer said...

I live on king, and I'm an avis cyclist, and none of these options are good.

Parking is already a big problem. Taking parking won't help. The first option means I would have to cross king with kids and groceries, or walk a block.

Widening the street by taking the medians will expose pedestrians to greater risk and remove trees that make the street nice. Are you going to move the telephone poles?
bring your wallet...

I would be in favor of moving traffic off of king as in option two, but then the side street neighbors get burned.

Most of all, king is safe to ride right now. What I need is a safe, quick way to get downtown or to the eastside.

This is sort of a bridge to nowhere.

Fritz said...

Thank you Old Timer -- it's always best to know from people who will actually be directly impacted. Like you note, any changes will cost $$$. In general I'm a fan of traffic calming, but in Santa Cruz there really is no place else for traffic to go -- Mission is already beyond capacity, and there's no where else for traffic now on King to go. I'm sure also that residents on King don't want to give up their parking, since parking is also already so limited in Santa Cruz.