Bicyclists cheer for green lanes in Capitola

By Jondi Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel

CAPITOLA >> Bicyclists are speaking up: They are grateful the city plans to spend $60,000 for green lane treatments at freeway interchanges and say they will feel safer on the road.

The green lanes are part of a $14.8 million budget approved unanimously Thursday night by the City Council in the form hammered out at a study session last week.

After the Sentinel reported Wednesday on the proposed green lanes, 15 people — many from outside Capitola — emailed the council to say thanks.

Supporters included a Santa Cruz vacation homeowner Michael Malaki, Dr. Prentice Steffen, a physician at the Dominican Hospital emergency room and Therese Kilpatrick, who teaches the bicycle technology class in the Regional Occupational Program at Soquel High and Aptos High.

“Green lanes in particular are a nice improvement. I ride on them several times a week in Santa Cruz,” wrote county resident Brandon Walton, describing bike commuting as “much less stressful than driving” and “great for exercise.”

Peter Stanger of La Selva Beach pointed out motorists are often in “freeway mode” when entering city streets and frequently speed up too soon before entering the onramp.

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“We are active bike riders though Capitola and enjoy Junior Guards and Camp Capitola,” wrote Jennifer Astone of Aptos. “Bike lanes would make a huge difference for us.”

Laurel Street in Santa Cruz and streets in Soquel Village have green lanes.

Green lane treatments have been shown to increase “motorist-yielding behavior,” according to Leo Jed, co-chair of the Community Traffic Safety Coalition of Santa Cruz County, citing work by the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

One cyclist fatality and six injury collisions occurred at three freeway interchanges — Soquel Avenue/Soquel Drive, 41st Avenue and State Park Drive — from 2003-2013, according a state database of collisions.

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