We sent this letter in the hope that the plan to expand Hwy 1 might be reconsidered.
Dear RTC Commissioners
As you all know Measure D passed in 2016 and included approx. $1.6 million in funds for widening Hwy 1. Since that date the accelerating effects of climate change have become apparent and the IPCC warned in October 2018 that greenhouse gases need to drop to zero by 2030 to avoid disastrous irreversible changes.
Nov 27, 2018 – The City of Santa Cruz passed an Emergency Climate Resolution – the council included RTC Commissioner Sandy Brown.
Jan 29, 2019 the County Board of Supervisors passed an Emergency Climate Resolution – the board included RTC Commissioners Caput, Coonerty, Friend, Leopold, McPherson.
Thus 6 members of the RTC have already voted for resolutions acknowledging the seriousness of the climate situation and the need to make significant changes.
Therefore it seems logical to ask for a review and revision of measure D plans.
Instead of Highway widening the money could be spent on alternatives such as:
1. Improving dangerous intersections and adding bike/pedestrian bridges
2. Paving as needed for a dedicated bus lane (shoulder/median)
3. Funding more new electric buses
4. Setting up “Bus rapid transit” on Soquel Ave
All of this would significantly improve the commute experience for drivers and provide real alternatives, thus reducing congestion AND greenhouse gas emissions. Many studies have shown that highway widening only briefly (if at all) reduces congestion, and long term just encourages more driving. So the suggestions outlined above would constitute much better use of public funds for everyone.
The general public is by now aware of the Climate Crisis and expects their elected officials to provide leadership.
In order to solve the Climate Crisis one essential step is to reject “Business as Usual” and embrace innovative changes – this is an opportunity for bold meaningful action. Please review the current plans.
Thanks for all your hard work in these difficult times.
Santa Cruz Climate Action Network