Transit and traffic congestion

Reminder: Transportation networks are built for people, not cars.

Santa Cruz Metro just posted up the agenda for their October 28 board meeting. Attached to the agenda was a letter from Capitola resident Bill Delaney. He asked Metro to consider a routing change for buses that use the Capitola Mall transit center on 41st Avenue. 41st has the highest traffic volume of any local street in Capitola and ranks pretty highly for all of Santa Cruz County traffic volume. Traffic frequently backs up onto Highway 1 from 41st. Delaney asks the board to consider a change in the existing route, which uses Clares Street to get from the mall to 41st.

Delaney is pretty well informed (he had written to the board, the RTD and letters to the editor on Capitola traffic issues previously and he generally makes good sense) so I don’t discount his suggestions out of hand — he may very well have a good idea in his re-routing suggestion — but one thing popped out at me:

“The bus takes up the equivalent of about four vehicles increasing congestion.”
Santa Cruz Metro bus routes 54, 55, 56, 66, 68, and 69 serve the Capitola Mall station. I don’t see boarding numbers broken down at a station level for Santa Cruz Metro, but each of these routes have a fairly high average ridership. The Live Oak and South County buses in particular (66, 68 and 69) carry over 20 passengers on average, and at Capitola Mall I’ve seen close to 50 people packed on these buses, especially in early evenings. Those “four vehicles” that are displaced by the single bus, on the other hand, each usually carry a single passenger. The single-occupant vehicle mode share in Santa Cruz County is 72%, so three of those cars carry a single passenger, and the fourth car has a single passenger.