News Briefs

County begins Aptos Area Adaptive Traffic Control System Project 

The County of Santa Cruz Department of Community Development and Infrastructure has announced that the Aptos Area Adaptive Traffic Control System Project began July 1 and will continue through Aug. 21 (weekdays only) from 8:30am-4:30pm.

The project will focus on improving traffic control by utilizing an adaptive traffic control system that will collect and process real-time traffic data and adjust signal timings to maximize efficiency to improve traffic flow at the following locations:

  • Soquel Drive / State Park Drive / Sunset Way Intersection
  • Soquel Drive / Rancho Del Mar / Aptos Rancho Road Intersection
  • Soquel Drive / Spreckels Drive Intersection
  • Soquel Drive / Aptos Creek Road Intersection
  • Soquel Drive / Trout Gulch Road Intersection

During the project period, some traffic disruptions may occur, as lane closures will be implemented to facilitate work in the areas noted above.

Santa Cruz County’s 2024 Workforce report released

The 2024 State of the Workforce report by the Santa Cruz County Workforce Development Board (WDB) highlights economic progress, new opportunities and the challenges faced by the local workforce.

With its unique blend of industries, Santa Cruz County experienced a 5.7% growth in employment from 2020 to 2023. However, this growth lags California (8.4%) and other Central Coast counties, such as San Luis Obispo (9.0%), while local labor force participation declined.

Core regional industries, such as healthcare, tourism, agriculture and education, exhibited mixed job growth, with agriculture reporting the most losses. Meanwhile, growth was strong in emerging industries, such as Defense, Aerospace and Transportation Manufacturing (DATM) and Biotechnology and Biomedical Devices (B&BD), driven by employers, such as Joby Aviation and startups related to UCSC’s human genome work.

Declining labor force participation rates are primarily due to Santa Cruz County’s large and growing population of seniors, the lack of affordable housing and a lack of high-paying jobs. Santa Cruz County’s population declined by 2,300 between 2022 and 2023, while housing costs rose faster than the state average and the percentage of residents who can afford a median-priced home declined sharply over the last three years, now sitting at 13%.

“We see signs of optimism in emerging sectors, but this report highlights some of the challenges our workforce faces when it comes to job quality and their ability to live and raise families locally,” said Santa Cruz County WDB Director Andy Stone. “Declining population numbers should serve as a call to action to address these challenges head-on.”

The report also emphasizes nonprofits’ significant impact on the economy and the job opportunities they provide to individuals ready to serve their community. This comprehensive report provides detailed insights into industry trends and workforce demographics, underscoring the importance of community collaboration in shaping a sustainable and prosperous economic future for Santa Cruz County.

Visit Workforce Santa Cruz County’s website to learn more.

New ordinance would regulate eBikes on sidewalks

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors has voted in favor of a new ordinance aimed at enhancing transportation safety and sustainability in Santa Cruz County.

The ordinance, which was approved on first reading June 25, expands existing County code to specify that electric bicycles (eBikes) as well as certain motorized vehicles, such as mopeds, may not be driven on sidewalks in unincorporated areas of the county, helping ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

“The adoption of this ordinance signifies our commitment to fostering sustainable transportation options while prioritizing public safety,” said Supervisor Manu Koenig.

Supervisor Zach Friend added, “By updating our County code to reflect the evolving landscape of transportation, we’re taking proactive steps to ensure that all residents can safely enjoy our public spaces.”

Once finalized, the ordinance would prohibit the operation of eBikes on County-owned sidewalks, unless those sidewalks have been designated as bikeways. To assure the safety of eBike operators, the proposed ordinance includes an exception in limited circumstances to allow eBikes on sidewalks where no pedestrians are present and no bikeway is available.

The ordinance is expected to return to the Board for a second reading and final adoption on Aug. 13.

The County reminds transportation network users to follow rules of the road, including requirements for motorists to allow three feet of space if passing cyclists. In addition, youth under 18 are required to wear a safety helmet, and youth under 16 are prohibited under State law from riding Class III eBikes (all Class III eBike users must wear helmets). Sidewalk rules vary by jurisdiction.

For an eBike training video, visit

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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