What will you do to make Watsonville streets safer for walkers and cyclists? Where?
Kristal Salcido: Watsonville’s traffic accidents and traffic fatalities are high. They are high per capita, for our population. I think Watsonville police have done a very good job applying for state grants to get additional traffic regulations in the city, but there’s more than just enforcement that needs to happen for there to be additional areas of improvement for cyclists and for pedestrians.
Many of the areas of Watsonville, for example, the areas where there’s single-family homes, there’s not sidewalks built into the space and the actual homes themselves. The streets aren’t wide enough to even have sidewalks, so some of those infrastructure issues don’t have easy answers. Because when there’s not sidewalks, people walk in the street.
But in terms of reasonable areas, we can improve the Downtown Specific Plan. That’s one area where we can improve cycling and the ability for there to be really clear demarcations for where cyclists can have their own designated lanes. But also trying to make the community more accessible means that cyclists can go to multiple locations for their activities of daily living.
So there’s not one easy answer, but I do think it will take investment in our roads, which is, again, why Measure R is so great. Because that also supports our infrastructure for roads. Whether it’s finding additional lanes for cyclists, clear demarcation for lanes, but also traffic enforcement and traffic safety and traffic education. Education is a key component. This is sort of tangential, but we did just lose a woman who was jaywalking across South Green Valley right by my home, and she unfortunately lost her life. So how can we improve education around pedestrian and cyclist safety? How can we improve education enforcement for drivers? And how can we enforce the laws that we have in terms of impaired driving?
Those are all things that are very important, and there’s no one right answer. It’s sort of more of a circle. And I think there’s, you know, the money and grant funding for communities like ours, we need to be very aggressive and get grant funding for the various areas.