The Santa Cruz Metro Board of Directors will take up the issue tomorrow whether the agency should abandon its plan to request the City of Santa Cruz to remove on street parking on weekends that will speed up Highway 17 Express buses.
Highlights from the staff memo:
The METRO Routes (Highway 17 and Route 35) using Ocean Street experience significant delays due to Summer tourist traffic that is generally destined for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk area on the weekends.
As a result of the examination of the Ocean Street area between Highway 17 and Water Street it was determined that Summer Weekend on-performance would be enhanced by the conversion of the Southbound on-street parking lane to a bus/bike lane from the hours of 10:00AM to 5:00PM.
In the process of examining the Ocean Street congestion issue it was also determined that the time saved by the bus/bike lane on Ocean Street would allow METRO to extend the weekend Highway 17 service to the vicinity of the Beach Boardwalk which would partially compensate for the absence of the Beach Shuttle that was discontinued after 2004.
On April 3, 2007 the CEO of the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council issued a "Call to Action" designed to mobilize the community to contact the Santa Cruz City Council to express their concerns and opposition to the METRO proposal.
Unfortunately the parking proposal opposition is resulting in many individuals expressing overall condemnation of METRO as an agency and questioning the necessity of public transit service in the community.
Overall, the proposal would remove 31 on-street parking spots. Most of the businesses there have a total of 247 off-street parking spots. The Santa Cruz Conference and Visitors Council has an office located on that street with only one on-street parking spot and no off-street parking.