What is the discussion about lane width?

Lane width on Alameda de las Pulgas is a major factor if we are to have reduced speeds and have all of the safety improvements in place.  Why?  Well there are really two aspects:  

1) Motorists naturally drive slower in narrow lanes, even slightly wider lanes have a dramatic increase in motorist’s speed.  So narrower lanes are required to reduce motorist speed.

2) We have a fixed amount of roadway width (curb to curb width) which County has measured as 64′.   If widths are managed correctly (that is, kept as narrow as possible), there is adequate width to address the safety improvements that the community has requested and safety engineers have recommended:

  • a 3 lane road way with 1 travel lane each direction and center turn/merge lane
  • bike lanes each direction with buffers between bikes and motorists
  • ADA compliant sidewalks both directions


To reduce traffic speed naturally, the lanes need to be 9′ but no more than 10′.  To experience these lane widths yourself, there are two sections to travel.  Santa Cruz between Hill View School and University Ave downtown has 10′ travel lanes and 9′ center turn lane.  Speed is still an issue there, but less often then in the past.    Also, Alameda has a very long section north of Woodside Rd that has 9′ travel and turn lanes and you will probably notice that traffic flows much slower there.  Both of these locations have a similar road configuration.

Pedestrian, Cyclist, and Resident Safety:

The Alameda is currently extremely dangerous for all.  The reconfiguration of 4 lanes to 3 lanes (4-3 road diet) will have narrower traffic lanes, provide ADA sidewalks on both sides of the road, added protection for pedestrians by moving traffic lanes 15′ away from pedestrians by having a curb, 7 ½ parking, 5′ bike lane, and 2′ bike buffer on both sides of the road.   

Resident’s safety is also greatly improved when entering Alameda from the side streets and their driveways.  This is due to greatly improved visibility since they have the 7′ of bike/buffer to better see all on-coming traffic AND a safe center turn/merge lane to use so they can enter the traffic flow by only having to cross a single lane of traffic and having the protection of the center turn/merge lane before entering the opposite traffic lane.   

This FAQ will be added to in the near future.  Comments and questions made below will be incorporated in future edit. 

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