The Regional Transportation Commission has committed $690,000 to Aptos Village Plan Improvements.
Representatives of Barry Swenson Builder, the developer of the new Aptos Village, have said these improvements along Soquel Drive and Trout Gulch Road are needed for the project to continue. These improvements include modifications to pedestrian, bike, and auto traffic on Soquel Drive from 350 ft west of Aptos Creek Rd to 150 ft east of Trout Gulch Rd (1230 ft). Here is a list of the proposed and approved improvements.
Along Soquel Drive:
- Add pedestrian facilities on south side of Soquel Dr
- Maintain existing bike lanes; new bus pullout and shelter on north side of Soquel Dr.
- Install traffic signals at Soquel Dr/Aptos Creek Rd
- Install traffic signals at Soquel Dr/Trout Gulch intersections
Trout Gulch from Soquel Dr to Valencia St (390 ft):
- Replace sidewalks with standard sidewalks on east side
- ADA upgrades to west side sidewalks
- New crossing arms
- Concrete panels for vehicle and pedestrian crossings.
The expected benefits for these improvements are: Auto, Train, Truck, Bike and Pedestrian safety, improved traffic circulation, improved multimodal access, facilitate infill development and upgrading.
Second District Supervisor and Regional Transportation Commission Member Zach Friend said, ” This addresses the issues of pedestrian safety, public transportation (the Santa Cruz Metro, access for the disabled, bike safety and dealing with traffic. There have been no improvements in the area of Aptos in the past thirty years and with the South side of the street having been built in the 1800s, is not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. These Improvements are not dependent on the proposed Aptos Village Plan; these will be done in any case because they are needed by the residents of Aptos.”
The Staff Recommendation was $690,000 for construction and that the County review the specific plans for pedestrian facilities with Elderly and Disabled Transportation Advisory Committee (E&D TAC) members to ensure that the project addresses accessibility needs, and ensure the project maintains space for future train boarding.
The Elderly and Disabled Transportation Advisory Committee strongly recommends funding the project and recommends that the County ensure that the new construction includes adequate accessible sidewalks throughout the project area, especially on the south (ocean side) of Soquel Drive and crossing the railroad tracks. The Committee stated the importance of the Aptos Village Project as the area is not currently accessible and there are several businesses and agencies in the area that provide senior and disabled services.
However, the Bicycle Committee recommendation was that no funds be spent on this project. Individual committee members stated that the project does not add additional bicycle lanes and suggested the project should be funded by the developer and include needed improvements to accommodate mountain bikers and a way station for road cyclists.
According to County Public Works Director John Presleigh, more than half the funding comes from developer fees and that the street project includes just $300,000 in county money. A representative of Barry Swenson Builder said the company is providing about $1.3 million in traffic impact fees for the Aptos Village Plan.
The San Jose-based company also is installing millions of dollars of infrastructure within the project area, in the form of new streets, sidewalks and more, which according to Mary Gourlay, project development project manager for Barry Swenson Builder adds up to over $6 million in required public benefits for the project.
Noel Smith – firstname.lastname@example.org