The iconic image of Capitola is the quaint village, but the vast majority of Capitola's commerce occurs on 41st Avenue.
Capitola Village and 41st Avenue couldn't be much more different. The Village is beach-lined, charming, tourist-filled and relaxing. Across town, 41st Avenue is a line of malls (mini, strip and full-scale) along with banks, grocery stores and on the outskirts, a handful of medical marijuana dispensaries.
Both the Village and 41st Avenue provide essential services, but the gap between the two is large. There is no good public transportation from one to the other, and aesthetically they do not tie Capitola together (although that is changing).
Last week we asked the three men running for two seats on the Capitola City Council how they would handle this issue. See their answers below.
Question: What can/should be done to bridge the gap between 41st Avenue and Capitola Village both physically and in a business sense? They are both Capitola but seem so distant and there's no good public way to get from one to the other.
Jacques Bertrand: I see the need to get around for shopping and just normal chores. Bike paths are great, but for most a decent, reliable local bus would most likely offer a workable solution, especially if your arms are full of purchases. We do have a bus during the summer. This idea is great and should be expanded.
Perhaps a pilot program can be worked out with partial support from the RTC, the argument being that such a system, besides reducing auto traffic, would also be a good feed line for the transportation hub at the mall. For those who want to walk, Capitola can do a lot more to make the route more enjoyable, i.e. path and sidewalk improvements.
Dennis Norton: If freeway improvements go forward in the Capitola corridor, there should be a frontage road on both sides of the freeway from 41st Avenue to Bay Avenue. Little can be done with traffic across Soquel Creek in the Village. In a business perspective, use the Capitola Road and Bay Avenue Corridors between the two areas with a mixed use commercial/residential mix.
Ed Bottorff: The two areas are distinctly different kinds of venues and experiences. However, we should try to at least physically make them more compatible. Expanding the already whittled down county bus service would definitely be a start.
The Capitola Parking & Traffic commission is studying the possibility of acquiring a trolley/shuttle similar to the one that operates in Santa Cruz. This type of system could be a possible start in the right direction. It could not only for provide shuttle service from the Pacific Cove Parking Lot to the Village, but it could be expanded to connect people from the Village to the mall and 41st Avenue area.
Both Bertrand and Bottorff suggest augmented public transportation, while Norton wants a frontage road and says we have some good ways already. What do you think? Who are you voting for? Tell us in the comments!