One of the largest issues in the greater Aptos Village area is traffic flow and improving flow in that area has been a focus of your county’s traffic engineers. County traffic engineers made signalization (along with new turn lanes and bike, bus and pedestrian improvements) as the model for improving flow in that area. With the new lights (and most of the other main improvements) completed at Trout Gulch and Soquel, we have been working to make refinements based on community feedback.
The county has received some questions regarding the new signals (and general questions about traffic rules and procedures in that area) and I sat down with County Traffic Engineer Rodolfo Rivas and Assistant Public Works Director Steve Wiesner to get the most common questions we’ve received answered. Here are the questions and their answers:
We’ve received some questions about whether a motorist is allowed to turn right on a red light from Trout Gulch onto Soquel. If so, what’s the proper procedure?
Yes. Motorists are allowed to turn right if safe to do so. If there is no pedestrian traffic in the crosswalk, motorists can advance past the limit line and turn right if there is a gap in traffic for a safe right turn. Right turns on red are common at signalized intersections and such turns are legal unless there is a sign that specifically prohibits right turns on red.
Additionally, we’ve been asked where to stop on a red light at that intersection. There appears to be two different limit lines — one before the railroad tracks and one after.
There is only one limit line and it is located before the crosswalk. Motorists should stop at the limit line. If there is no pedestrian traffic in the crosswalk, motorists turning right can move forward and perform right turns when safe to do so.
Can a vehicle turn right on a red from Soquel into the Bay Federal/Mulberry Gallery shopping center?
Yes. However, turning vehicles must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Will there be any signage changes or pedestrian markings in the coming weeks?
Yes. Yield to pedestrian signs will be added for motorists turning right from Soquel Drive into Bay Federal as well as for vehicles turning right from Soquel Drive onto Trout Gulch Road. Additionally, on Trout Gulch Road, the pavement arrow for left turn movements located after the railroad track will be relocated before the crosswalk, and crosswalk markings will be added for the driveway at Bay Federal. These changes have come directly from community feedback. Beyond the pedestrian changes, we have received questions about the light phasing coming out of the Bay Federal/Mulberry Gallery parking lot and we are working to improve that timing.
Are there additional pedestrian improvements planned during this phase of construction?
Yes. Crosswalk markings will be installed on Trout Gulch at Cathedral Drive.
The questions above were the most common questions our office (and Public Works) has received with the new improvements. As always, I appreciate hearing your thoughts. Feel free to call me at 454-2200 with questions or any additional feedback on the new traffic improvements in that area.