Green Lanes on Laurel Street and More Proposed at Freeway Onramps

Bright green thermoplastic was applied to the bike lanes on Laurel Street in Santa Cruz in early 2015, after being delayed by December rains. The project was a result of People Power’s campaign for a green lane pilot program, which was approved by the Santa Cruz City Council in 2014. The treatments are designed to remind drivers to check for cyclists before they cross the bike lane, and were installed in conflict zones (places where drivers may be entering the bike lane). Feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with cyclists and drivers both feeling that everyone’s space on the road is more clearly delineated. The green lane treatments don’t change the rules of the road. People on bikes should still stay in the bike lane unless there is glass or other debris in the bike lane, they’re passing another cyclist, or if they are at risk from drivers opening their car doors. People driving are required by law to yield to cyclists before entering the bike lane, and use their blinkers before turning. People Power is hard at work to get more green lanes installed throughout the county. The Regional Transportation Commission’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Community Traffic Safety Coalition, and the Santa Cruz County Cycling Club all wrote letters of support for green lane treatments at freeway interchanges, particularly at State Park Drive and Soquel Drive near Dominican Hospital where there have been injuries and one fatality. Green lane treatments at interchanges indicate where cyclists will be crossing on- and off-ramps and they remind drivers to yield to cyclists before getting on and off the freeway.