By Ramona Turner
Several neighbors met with our much respected police chief in Capitola about slowing down motorcycles that fly up the main exit streets of Capitola on weekends, tail pipes blasting, causing an unbelievable amount of noise at truly unacceptable levels.
We heard all the legal ramifications of the police’s inability to stop this — court cases, tail pipe adjustments, etc. Of course, we asked about speed bumps or humps, which I know the city does not like — fire department issues, etc.
I am seriously interested and the situation here is really dire for those of us who live along Monterey Avenue, Wharf Road or Cliff Drive. Here on Monterey, our problem has recently been exacerbated by the loss of a pine tree that used to offer some shelter and buffer as well as some noise abatement. Now, some neighbors are barely more than 8 feet or so from the roadway where the noise levels are literally deafening. It is a tough situation. Please, please keep your ears and eyes open for any creative solutions.
Hope you are well! Thanks again for your help,
Molly Ording, Capitola
A Street Smarts reached out to Jeanne LePage, senior program specialist at Ecology Action, Karena Pushnik, senior transportation planner and spokeswoman for the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission, and Theresia L. Rogerson, coordinator of the Community Traffic Safety Coalition, as well as health educator in the Public Health Department of Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency.
For traffic calming engineering tools, LePage recommended looking at the Safe Routes to School site, http://tinyurl.com/oh5bauh, while Pushnik referenced the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s website, http://tinyurl.com/ncndnkw. There’s also Monterey Bay Area Complete Streets Guidebook, http://tinyurl.com/qatbvat.
Meanwhile, Rogerson offered the traffic safety coalition’s website, which offers some non-engineering, do-it-yourself, homegrown ideas, including traffic calming trash can and Pace Car stickers, http://tinyurl.com/q5n8w3h.
Neighborhood speed issues are a problem countywide. Through the years, Street Smarts has covered a number of traffic calming efforts but perhaps the most meaningful advice I have heard through the years is for residents to get back to basics — sit outside on porches and in yards, walk across the street to visit neighbors, allow kids to play in the front yard and park cars on the street. All these things grab drivers’ attention and relay the message that people live there and that the neighborhood is not a drag strip with houses as ornamentation. Plus, implementing these ideas is free.