Watsonville Task Force Analyzes Bike Safety Report Card – Santa Cruz Sentinel


WATSONVILLE – Between their previously scheduled points at Tuesday’s meeting, members of the Watsonville Vision Zero task force discussed a just-on-arrival assessment of the city’s bicycle safety infrastructure and educational programs offered. speak League of American Cyclists.

The league, founded in 1880 as the League of American Wheelmen, had a mission to focus specifically on improving roads. Today, according to its website, cycling advocates have a mission: “To lead the movement to create a bicycle-friendly America for all.” “

The League’s Bicycle Friendly America Awards Series is an annual event that highlights communities striving to improve elements that contribute to cycling safety, such as education and engineering. In Santa Cruz County, the City of Santa Cruz has been awarded the Gold Bicycle Friendly Community Award, while the City of Watsonville has been awarded the Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community Award. The other municipalities in the county are not listed in the league database.

Watsonville Senior Engineer and Task Force Host Murray Fontes shared the report card with the pre-meeting task force minutes that portray the good and bad of Watsonville’s offerings to cyclists.

Watsonville, the league noted, has an exceptional number of cycling facilities on high-speed roads compared to the national average. Its educational programming for school-aged students was rated “very good”. The city’s Bike Month and Bike to Work events were rated as “excellent”. Compared to 11% of transportation budgets spent on cycling measures elsewhere, the City of Watsonville spent 14% of its budget on the objective of the working group: “Eliminate all fatalities and serious injuries while increasing safe, healthy and fair mobility for all.” “

However, the city has fewer staff working on dedicated cycling programs than the US average. Additionally, when most communities are actively implementing their published cycling plans, the league has determined that Watsonville is only implementing their plan “somewhat”. The city scored low in all areas in the league’s categories of engineering, education, encouragement, assessment and planning.

Finally, it recorded on average more accidents and deaths than average and had lower attendance. County Health Services Agency health educator Arnold Shir read a handful of incidents that had occurred since the November task force meeting.

Despite criticism from the League, it is an accomplishment for Watsonville to have achieved bronze certification, Fontes said.

“I’m not sure this newsletter tells the whole story, they never do, but it does give us talking points, guidelines and maybe even (ideas) for improvement,” Lowell said. Hurst, member of the task force and city councilor. .

Working group members added their own comments that programming about to be launched or in the planning stages will see them reach the next highest medal by next year – many concepts suggested by the league in their “Key Steps to Silver” section of the report.

“I think the bike sharing will change a lot of things for the city,” said Alex Yasbek, director of environmental projects for Watsonville, of a developing program that residents of the city will likely benefit from this year. “I hope that some of these suggestions, these key steps, will be achievable and achievable.”

Yasbek explained that the cities of Capitola, Santa Cruz and Watsonville, UC Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College and the County of Santa Cruz recently teamed up to issue a request for proposals to collectively find a supplier to provide bike-sharing facilities. throughout the region. Yasbek said a limited company has been selected and contract negotiations are ongoing.

“The teams chose a vendor that offered a good balance of cost and convenience,” Yasbek said, adding that at least 10 docking stations will be established in the southern county town alone. “Bike sharing could be in place as early as the summer or fall for Watsonville.”


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