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SCA Sidewalks - doing the most good

From: domainremoved <Patti>
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:02:57 -0700

Dear Honorable Mayor and City Council Members,

I am delighted that the long-awaited promise of sidewalks on Santa Cruz
might come to fruition soon. The lack of sidewalks, the high crown of Santa
Cruz Avenue (SCA), and untamed vegetation on some properties makes walking
difficult and even hazardous. I live near SCA and use it as a pedestrian,
biker, and driver. This project is very important and desired.


For your discussion this evening, I offer the following thoughts and
suggestions.


OVERALL - “DO THE MOST GOOD FOR THE MOST PEOPLE”

This concept comes from the Community Emergency Response Team training, and
it’s applicable to decisions about sidewalks that will affect drivers,
pedestrians, bicyclists, utility and service workers, guests and visitors,
property owners, and virtually everyone who travels on or lives near Santa
Cruz Ave.


In the ideal world, we could start with a blank slate and optimize safety,
ease of use, aesthetic, and environmental considerations. It’s a good
mental exercise to consider what the ideal world would have produced so
this decision can come as close to it as possible. I think that ideal would
include the following:

a. Wide unobstructed sidewalks so families and groups of school kids can
traverse safely without needing to spill into the street

b, Consistently-straight bike paths that are continuously buffered from
vehicular traffic

c. Adequate, but not necessarily continuous, turning lanes that allow both
queuing and turning FROM SCA and safe refuge for those turning left ONTO
SCA from all neighborhood streets and St. Raymond Church

d. Attractive vegetation between the sidewalks and the street, to make SCA
more attractive and less urban, and to help encourage pedestrians (kids,
especially) to walk on the sidewalks instead of the street.

e. No utility poles or boxes in the sidewalks

f. Some parking of adequate width (the current parking is too narrow) to
parked vehicles do not intrude into bike path


There is no way to satisfy every desire, and some compromises from the
ideal will be necessary. Keeping the principle of “do the most good for the
most people” in mind may help.


MAKE YOUR PREFERRED OPTION AS REAL AS POSSIBLE BEFORE IT IS ABSOLUTELY
FINAL

Years ago there was a well-intended ostensible trial of street furniture on
Santa Cruz. The installation shocked and surprised many in the community
and the “trial” involved jackhammers and invasive marring of the street and
gutters. All of that was thrown out and little has happened since until
now..


Is there any way to create models or even install something that is truly
temporary and noninvasive to help our community evaluate whatever it is
that the council thinks tonight is best? Just for some final feedback? IMO
one of the issues with the street furniture fiasco was that there was
nothing like that before jack hammers marred the street. Many people cannot
visualize changes or their impacts from a drawing.

I know it's really difficult to get attention via the mail, but the city
documents imply that even of the SCA property owners who were surveyed,
more than 40% of those didn't respond at all to the latest set of options.
It may be possible to get broader and more in-depth community feedback
using a 3D model of the entire strip affected, and or some sort of
temporary mockup (e.g., with temporary "no parking trial" signs and yellow
tape)? The signs about tonight's meeting are great, but there's nothing
like 3D to help make this more real and get attention, and avoid surprises.


MAKE YOUR DECISION WITH THE LONG TERM IN MIND

Traffic will be increasing even if more people walk and bike. Trees and
vegetation will grow. There will never be a better – or cheaper - time to
use the city’s full Right-Of-Way (ROW). There will never be a better – or
cheaper – time to underground utilities. It really makes a difference now
and for the future to do the most good for the most people for now and for
the future.


Again, thank you for moving this project forward.


Respectfully submitted,

Patti
Received on Tue Mar 10 2015 - 14:57:57 PDT

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