City Council Envisions New Ocean Street

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Last week, the Santa Cruz City Council discussed significant upcoming developments, including the revisioning of Ocean Street as well as the current state of the city’s water supply.

The Ocean Street Area Plan was the highlight topic of the Oct. 22 meeting, as it presented a vision for the growth, conservation and enhancement of the Ocean Street corridor.

HiBeginning in 2007, the plan focuses on land use, urban design and transportation issues, and will be further implemented through the year 2030 as part of a 20-year vision for the area. City consultant Ben Noble delivered the general information behind the vision.

“In general it enhances the livability of the community,” Noble said.

By 2030, Ocean Street will serve as a gateway to Santa Cruz, reflecting the city’s unique character and welcoming those arriving from Highway 17, according to the plan.

Changes include creating a tree-lined boulevard for pedestrians, vehicle and parking circulation improvements, visitor shuttles, streetscape enhancements and overall, a more welcoming environment.

The City Council then turned to items of general business, such as issues concerning the water department.

Santa Cruz has operated on water restrictions since May, which would normally have expired on Oct. 31. However, an extension has been requested “since light, temperatures and irrigations dropped, as well as our water demand,” said water department representative Toby Goddard.

The idea of extending the water shortage alert was also due to this year’s seasonal rains.

“Normally we’d see an inch and a half of rain in October, but we’ve seen only a tenth of an inch,” Goddard said. “The North Coast is out of service currently. We’re only bringing in less than a million gallons a day from the North Coast sources.”

The San Lorenzo River, a major water supply for the city, is running less than half the amount it normally would this time of year. The entire system is using less than 10 million gallons of water per day currently, half of which is coming from the lake.

City Council adopted a resolution to end the year at 75 percent capacity of water reservoir storage. Just recently, storage dropped below the 75 percent level. For this reason, City Council is signaling to the public that these conditions are not back to normal, and are as a result recommending the continuation of water restrictions.

Assembly member Mark Stone also presented some legislative updates, including some environment challenges. While several environmental bills did not move forward, Stone emphasized improvements on matters such as reducing ocean pollution.

“Around the Monterey Bay, we made great strides for clean beaches,” Stone said. “A lot of effort is going on to clean up plastic pollution in the new shore areas.”

The City Council regularly meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month. On Oct. 22, Santa Cruz held its regularly scheduled meeting at 2:30 p.m. at the City Hall, directed by Mayor Hilary Bryant. Present council members included Pamela Comstock, Don Lane, Cynthia Matthews, Micah Posner and vice Mayor Lynn Robinson.

The next scheduled meeting is a Special Meeting on Nov. 5.


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