Graham Hill traffic signal to be lit next week
by Joe Shreve
Feb 21, 2013 | 2309 views | 14 14 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New traffic signals on the corner of Lockewood Lane and Graham Hill Road just outside Scotts Valley are set to be turned on as early as next week.
New traffic signals on the corner of Lockewood Lane and Graham Hill Road just outside Scotts Valley are set to be turned on as early as next week.
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For several months, new traffic signals have loomed over Graham Hill Road’s intersection with Lockewood Lane, but so far the lights have remained inactive.

Six months after work began late last August, the lights are likely to be turned on next week, said Jack Sohriakoff, senior civil engineer for the Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works.

In addition to the three-way signals, the project — funded by a $450,000 federal grant — lengthened the left-hand turn lane onto Lockewood Lane and added wheelchair-accessible ramps to the intersection’s crosswalks.

The signals’ activation, Sohriakoff said, was delayed six weeks because their foundations needed to be moved to give underground gas lines more buffer space, something that could not happen until crews from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. were able to repair and upgrade the overhead power lines to prevent blackouts.

“They had to turn off the lines in that area and re-route the power,” Sohriakoff said. “We had to wait those six weeks while they made the repairs.”

He added that while the foundations’ distance from the gas lines was a matter of a few feet, PG&E restrictions have become stricter, he said, possibly as a result of a gigantic pipeline explosion in San Bruno on Sept. 9, 2010.

Public works crews used the downtime to conduct additional tree-trimming in the area and repair some of the storm drains that had sustained damage.

The additional work prompted the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors to approve adding $37,000 to the department’s budget to procure additional construction materials.

Sohriakoff said the signals would not be activated until sometime next week due to forecasts of rainy weather persisting through the weekend that delay crews from completing the finishing touches on the project.

To comment, email reporter Joe Shreve at joe@pressbanner.com, call 438-2500 or post a comment at www.pressbanner.com.

Comments
(14)
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Disgusted 2
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February 24, 2013
How can anyone respect the stupid engineering design of this intersection?

Anyone that has driven past going towards Felton knows a right turn lane was needed BUT what did they do? They put a pole (and foundation) right in the middle of what should have been that lane....

What does that do? It makes anyone turning onto Lockwood have to almost stop to make a , now, 90 degree turn! Stupid!

As for the comment about the light being triggered by folks turning right, from Lockwood to Felton, I can feel confident that it will.... Again STUPID!

Was there any traffic study done? Did it consider the effect on the MANY commuters going to and from Santa Cruz daily? If so then they and the designers should be fired or fined out of their jobs!

While I hate having to stop it sure doesn't help that this was done with such lack of intelligence....

.
nonymouse
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February 24, 2013
I hope this was engineered so someone turning right from Lockewood doesn't trigger the light. The signal at Sims turns red in both directions whenever anyone makes a right turn from Sims. Often they've already made it around the corner and then all Graham Hill Road traffic has to stop.

Mr Hermon
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February 26, 2013
I had the same concern. Sims road doesn't have a dedicated right turn lane unlike Lockwood. The trigger is shared at Sims Rd.

Good trigger engineering is possible. I remember when the Sims Rd light was way smarter than it is today. There is too much technology floating around for us to have to wait at a stop light for no reason.
nick....
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February 24, 2013
another ridiculous example of how the government wastes tax revenue. $450,000? and they installed ADA wheel chair ramps too?

yet another traffic light stop is just plain stupid, have santa cruz county planners ever heard of roundabouts? millions used around the world to slow, calm and allow vehicles to safely merge without having to stop dead and wait. this is a waste of time, money , and major inconvenience to commuters.
GeneLvr
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February 24, 2013
Nick,

In complete agreement about roundabouts. I say roundabouts are the most efficient solution hands down.

But, in this particular instance, it wouldn't be possible (or legal) as the road borders Henry Cowell and federally-protected habitat.

GeneLvr
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February 23, 2013
I disagree.

This traffic signal is long overdue.

We moved here in 2005 - probably not near the length of time the commenters in this thread have been residents. I respect that.

Nevertheless, since 2005, I have seen too many near-miss collisions at or near this T-intersection.

Be it beach-weather weekends or rush hour, I have waited and waited and waited too long in order to guarantee a safe turn.

Also, I've turned onto Lockewood countless times and there almost always seems to be a line of 3-4 cars waiting to get onto Graham Hill safely.

No one wins.

The speed limit is rarely respected. If I drive into Felton or Santa Cruz going 45, I am run off the road most times. And, at night, it's especially difficult to see how fast the cars are coming because the road is quite dark.

My family is thrilled with this improvement to our neighborhood. Bikers, hikers, kids, people in cars, and even horses will all likely benefit from the new light.

But, hell. Bottom line? Graham Hill Road in no way helps preserve the near-extinct Santa Cruz Sandhills habitat that it runs right through. So we might as well preserve what life we can with the addition of a new traffic light.
Chris Kilgus
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February 24, 2013
You could have gone down to Mt. Hermon and easily made your trip. Now the rest of us must stop at the light for your convenience.
GeneLvr
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February 24, 2013
@ Chris Kilgus:

You could have gone down to Mt. Hermon and easily made your trip.

*** Yes, brilliant option and I frequently take Mt. Hermon when heading to SLV. But heading into Santa Cruz on "Summer Days" and "Nice Weekends"? Come on! Even I know to taking Hwy 17 for most of the year is plain stupid. Talk about adding to the carbon footprint.

Now the rest of us must stop at the light for your convenience.

*** Yes. You must stop for my convenience as I now must wait for yours.

Mr Hermon
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February 26, 2013
The intersection did have its problems, but there could have been a better option to installing a light. Widening the road and installing a couple of merge lanes, including one in the middle could have solved the problem.

To just say "well these 10,000 SLV people are just going to have to stop" was a very lazy way to solve this issue.
TimmingTooShort
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March 22, 2013
If you are 10 - 15 cars back at the light on Graham Hill you will most likely miss the light and have to wait for a second as the alotted time before Lockwood gets the right of way is way too short!
BL Charlie
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February 22, 2013
What an absurd waste of $$
Valley Dude
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February 22, 2013
No doubt. Tens of thousands of SLV people use this route to Santa Cruz everyday. Now we have to stop and let a couple dozen Lockhardt Gulch neighbors not have to look both ways. Not only is the light itself a waste of money, but having to stop decreases the mpg on your car, which increases our community carbon footprint.

I can only hope that the light will be timed and triggered to alleviate the detrimental externalities of ruining this expressway.
Chris Kilgus
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February 23, 2013
I agree, waste of money.
daily driver
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March 05, 2013
I take Graham Hill to and from work every day.

Two days a week at 8:00 am I turn on to Lockewood Lane, drop kids off at Day care and then return up Lockewood Lane to jump back on Graham Hill to go to work. Even during this "rush hour" time, there is ZERO need for a light at this intersection. Yes, I may have to wait 5 - 20 seconds as things currently are... it is NOT a problem.

Why are we wasting money to make things WORSE for all of the people who depend on Graham hill to get them in to Santa Cruz without having to go through sterile Scotts Valley?



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