Eileen Cross, Main media contact and Water Department (831) 420-5213
Joyce Blaschke, Santa Cruz Police Department (831) 420-5844
Janice Bisgaard, Public Works Department (831) 420-5166
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(Updated) Westlake Safe Routes to School Project Breaks Ground September 15
Nathan Nguyen, Civil Engineer, (831) 420-5188
Janice Bisgaard, Community Relations Specialist, (831) 420-5166(Updated Sept. 8, 2014) The much anticipated Westlake Neighborhood Pedestrian Safety Project will soon improve walking routes in the area surrounding Westlake Elementary School. Enhancements include construction of Americans with Disabilities Act compliant sidewalks, driveway approaches, curb ramps and pedestrian crossing improvements. Funded through the Federal Safe Routes to School Program, construction is expected to begin September 15 and will continue through mid-November.
Two-way traffic will be maintained at all construction zones throughout the project, however, bicycle lanes will be intermittently closed. Drivers must proceed with caution as cyclists may use full vehicle lanes. If necessary, lane closures may occur 7 a.m. -3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
All efforts will be made to minimize traffic impacts so that students, parents and staff are able to arrive and depart safely from Westlake Elementary School. Construction was originally planned to occur during the school’s summer vacation months; delays in the grant administration and approval process moved the start date into September.
The Santa Cruz Public Works Department has hired Breneman, Inc. for the construction which is planned to begin at the east side of the neighborhood and gradually move west. There are five project location sites: High Street at Spring Street and Laurent Street, Moore Street and Bradley Drive, Bay Drive and Meder Street, Meder Street and Nobel Drive East, and Meder Street West.
These streets not only serve Westlake Elementary School, but are the primary access routes to UC Santa Cruz located immediately to the west of the grade school. Traffic conflicts due to the commuter behavior of UC Santa Cruz motorists are one of the safety hazards posed to the Westlake neighborhood children walking to school.
Construction will not only include new sidewalks, but also smaller radius curb returns, curb ramps, protected crossing medians, marked crosswalks and raised crosswalk/speed tables. These many improvements are needed to reduce motor vehicle speeds and provide greater pedestrian safety.
There is a non-infrastructure component to the project; a Walking School Bus Program (WSB) will educate children about safe pedestrian behavior and decision-making and provide incentives for walking to school.
Ecology Action will support WSB as will Westlake Elementary School and the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency through walking and biking safety education programs. Also, the Santa Cruz Police Department will support and enhance the efforts of parent volunteers walking with children in the neighborhood.
The Westlake Neighborhood Pedestrian Safety Project meets all Safe Routes to School objectives including improving air quality, reducing childhood obesity and increasing the number of school children walking and biking to and from schools.
The City of Santa Cruz looks forward to improving the Westlake neighborhood walking environment by constructing a safe and well-connected pedestrian-friendly system.
For questions or more information, please contact Project Manager Nathan Nguyen at (831) 420-5188 or Assistant Engineer Patrick Fung at (831) 420-5086.
Project details can be found at the construction blog: http://westlakesaferoutes.blogspot.com/.
About the City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department
The Public Works Department provides the City of Santa Cruz with a variety of services including engineering design, traffic engineering and maintenance, storm water management, street maintenance, resource recovery management, waste reduction programs, wastewater management, flood control and parking control. The Public Works Department is committed to bringing the Santa Cruz community the highest possible quality of life.
Westlake Safe Routes to School Project construction will occur at five locations.
Westlake Safe Routes to School Project work will include new sidewalks and curb ramps at High and Laurent streets.
Westlake Safe Routes to School Project will install new pavement to connect existing sidewalks; Meder Street.