The project’s purpose is to improve pedestrian access and safety along Highway 9, from Kirby Street to north of Fall Creek Drive. (Contributed)

Caltrans earmarked another $3.3 million so it can proceed with final designs and right-of-way components for the Highway 9 Felton Safety Improvements Project, the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission announced Monday.

The money is coming from the State Highway Operation and Protection Program, the State Highway System’s “fix-it-first” program that funds road maintenance, emergency repairs, safety improvements and some highway operational improvements.

The project is set to construct pedestrian and bicycle facilities to improve safety on Highway 9 near Felton from Kirby Street to north of Fall Creek Drive—measures local residents say are desperately needed given the immense traffic on the route.

New signs—possibly with flashing lights for pedestrian safety—are being considered for the area south of Graham Hill Road.

Another is to be added near the place where a new sidewalk ends downtown Felton.

“Deficiencies in pedestrian access and facilities exist between Graham Hill Road and the San Lorenzo Valley High School,” Caltrans notes on the project webpage. “Multiple pedestrian-related collisions have occurred within the most recent five years, including two fatal collisions.”

Construction on the $8.5 million initiative is scheduled to begin in Spring 2025.

Meanwhile, the RTC scored $72.16 million from the California Transportation Commission for its Highway 1 Auxiliary Lane and Bus-on-Shoulder (Bay/Porter to State Park) project, which includes a new bicycle and pedestrian overcrossing at Mar Vista Drive.

“This project will provide numerous benefits to our community, including improved traffic operations and safety on Highway 1, reduced traffic diverted onto local streets and neighborhoods, improved transit bus service and safer infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians,” said RTC Executive Director Guy Preston in a release. “The project will decrease congestion, reduce vehicle miles traveled and create a more sustainable community.”

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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