All of this talk about the proposal to convert Pacific Avenue into a two-way street got us wondering what you, the general public, think of the idea. City officials seem to be onboard with the plan, which was the brainchild of urban retail expert Robert Gibbs, and you can read what some downtown business owners think in the article that begins on page 6. But what do you think? To find out, we ran a poll on our website, gtweekly.com, from Tuesday, June 12 through Thursday, June 21. The survey was simple, reading “I believe the street layout of Pacific Avenue should be …” with the following options to choose from: two-way for traffic; one-way the whole way; a pedestrian mall; left as is; and “other.”
Of the 149 total responses, 98 were in favor of a pedestrian mall. The next most popular answer was “left as is,” which came in at 25 votes. Converting Pacific Avenue to a two-way street got 10 votes, while a one-way option received eight. There were eight write-ins for the “other” option, which ranged from “bicycle only” and “a pedestrian mall with a two-way bike trail” to “left as is and slowly transitioned to a pedestrian mall starting with a once-a-month closure for First Fridays.” Interesting, sure, but keep in mind that there was no limit on the number of times someone could vote.
While we were at it, Good Times also conducted an informal poll on Pacific Avenue on the afternoons of Wednesday, June 20 and Friday, June 22. Of 42 total respondents, 26 were Santa Cruz County residents and 16 were visiting from outside the area. When asked if they found the current traffic pattern in Downtown Santa Cruz confusing, non-residents tended to say yes, while a majority of residents said no—19 (nine residents and 10 non-residents) said it is confusing, while 23 said it is not (17 residents and six non-residents). A majority in both groups said Pacific Avenue is currently bike and pedestrian friendly (20 residents and nine non-residents).
As for the various possibilities for transforming Pacific Avenue, the prospect of a pedestrian mall earned the most votes (18 total, comprised of 10 from locals and eight from visitors), followed closely by “leaving the traffic layout the same as it is now” with 17 votes (13 from residents and four from non-residents). Converting the avenue to a two-way street garnered a total of two votes (both from residents), while making it one-way earned five votes (four from visitors and one from a Santa Cruzan).
Meanwhile, plenty of you weighed in on our Facebook page and website with your opinions and ideas. One comment on the June 14 article “Why Two-Way?” seems especially poignant now, given the number of our survey respondents who said they would prefer a pedestrian mall: “Strictly a pedestrian mall would be really cool to see, but I think that would be in a perfect world. I try to avoid driving on that road [Pacific Avenue] at all anyway. It’s easy enough to park on Cedar or Center [streets] even, and walk over. I would imagine tourists would see otherwise though and they are the money makers.” So what is the best route for Pacific Avenue to take? Let us know what you think at gtweekly.com, on the Good Times Santa Cruz Facebook page, or by writing to [email protected]