After many months of discussion, the board of Bike Santa Cruz County has voted to endorse Measure D, a half-cent sales tax measure that will appear on the ballot in November.
We believe that Measure D would offer tremendous benefits for people who ride bicycles in Santa Cruz County, and that this proposal would move us in the right direction towards a transportation system that serves everyone, regardless of how they choose to get around.
The proposal is not perfect. Considering the potential impacts on climate change, surrounding neighborhoods, and projected minor improvements in congestion, we do not support planned funding in Measure D for Highway 1 auxiliary lanes. We would prefer to see more funding go to alternatives, including protected bike and pedestrian facilities, Metro bus service, and passenger rail service.
However, we believe that, on balance, this measure will increase access to transportation for residents of Santa Cruz County and make bicycling a safer, easier and more convenient way to get around.
Bike Santa Cruz County’s mission statement is “To promote bicycling through advocacy, education and community building”. Viewed through that lens, we see the following benefits in Measure D for people who ride bikes:
- 17% ($85M) for the Coastal Rail Trail: These funds would be used to build and maintain the 32-mile Coastal Rail Trail, and could be used to leverage additional grant funding for construction. With additional grant money, we believe that this will be enough to build the entire trail from Davenport to Pajaro.
- 30% ($150M) for Neighborhood Projects: These funds would be used at the discretion of local jurisdictions, and could be used to fund road maintenance and bike and pedestrian projects. Santa Cruz County faces an enormous deficit in transportation funding, and every year there are local grant applications for bike and pedestrian projects that are not successful. The Neighborhood Projects revenue would provide a local funding source, allowing us to build new bike and pedestrian projects and better maintain local streets and roads.
- Estimated 1.4% ($7M) for Bike/Ped Overcrossings at Chanticleer and Mar Vista: The Hwy 1 Corridor portion of Measure D contains funds for a bike and pedestrian bridge at Chanticleer in Live Oak, which would provide an alternative to the Soquel Drive and 41st Avenue interchanges for people walking and biking. It also includes some funds for a bike and pedestrian bridge at Mar Vista Drive in Aptos, which would connect Seacliff residents to Mar Vista Elementary and Aptos businesses. The Mar Vista Bridge already has the majority of funding secured.
Looking at the measure as a whole, 80% of funds would be used to invest in alternative transportation or maintain existing roads. Of that 80%, 17% of funds would go towards the Coastal Rail Trail, and 30% of funds are available for additional bike and pedestrian projects. This is an unprecedented level of investment in bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and would help make riding a bike a safe and viable option for many more County residents.
To see the full Measure D expenditure plan, visit http://sccrtc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/ExpenditurePlan-ApprovedJune16.pdf