Santa Cruz Plans for Changes to Iconic West Cliff

Santa Cruz Plans for Changes to Iconic West CliffWest Cliff Drive is one of the most popular roads in Santa Cruz County. Over the last year, the city has been gathering feedback about plans for the road from people living in Santa Cruz. The city has just released a new potential plan for West Cliff Drive. 

About Santa Cruz's West Cliff Drive

West Cliff Drive spans 3 miles along the Pacific Ocean coast in Santa Cruz providing the most amazing views of Monterey Bay. The road begins at Santa Cruz municipal wharf and takes travelers past the Santa Cruz Dream Inn, West Cliff Inn, Sea and Sand, the Seaway Inn, and into a residential neighborhood. West Cliff is popular with a mix of bikers, runners, people walking their dogs, surfers headed to Steamer Lane, tourists, and motor vehicle drivers. It is the most beautiful drive in Santa Cruz. It is a popular spot to snap a selfie and take in the views of the wharf and the Boardwalk below. You can also watch the surfers at Cowell Beach. 

Some popular spots for walkers that utilize the trail along the side of West Cliff include the lighthouse point grassy area and the surfer statue near Steamer Lane. Steamer Lane is a world-renowned surf break and an amazing spot to watch the most talented surfers in the area. The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is also within walking distance of the Mark Abbet Memorial Lighthouse and shares information about how surfing came to Santa Cruz by way of Hawaiian royalty. Santa Cruz is recognized as the birthplace of surfing in California. Mitchell's Cove and Offleash dog area is popular with locals it is also a great place to spectate whales and dolphins.

If you travel to the other end of W. Cliff Dr. it will bring you to Natural Bridges State Park and Beach. It is popular for the Sandstone arch naturally created by wind and waves. The archway has become a landmark in the area. There was once a whole series of these arches but only this one remains. This is one of the Santa Cruz area's most popular outdoor spaces. W. Cliff Dr. has always been an iconic landmark of Santa Cruz.

Why Was West Cliff Drive Closed? 

There was a stretch of W. Cliff Dr. between Columbia Street and Woodrow Avenue that had one lane closed along W. Cliff Dr. The closure of this area was due to the hard hit that W. Cliff Dr. took from harsh weather over the last year. This stretch of the eastbound lane was closed in part for a pilot project to test out the future plans of Santa Cruz for W. Cliff Dr. for one-way traffic. It was also closed to help give some respite to the road after a torrent of harsh winter weather that damaged this portion of the road and the sidewalk as well as the coastal cliffs nearby. The closure saw delays due to plans for repaving the stretch of road which are very weather dependent. Cliff erosion has been significant and has impacted both the pedestrian walkway and stretches of the road. 

What the City has Proposed for West Cliff Drive

After its year-long stent of surveying people in the community, the city of Santa Cruz has released a draft for a 50-year community vision for West Cliff. The city's plan focuses on prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle access to the W. Cliff Dr. area and is proposing a one-way vehicle access to the road.

The city hopes to safeguard the coastline along W. Cliff Dr. from the effects of harsh weather in the area on the sea walls and cliffs. There is a plan for hard armoring with the use of seawalls to help protect against erosion. The document the city has prepared is open for public review. The city is hoping the community will look it over before it heads to the City Council for deliberation in April 2024. There was a community meeting about the 50-year plan to hear public comments from local Santa Cruz residents on the draft. The draft was put together with the help of Sacramento-based Farallon Strategies which is a climate resilience consulting firm.

You can view the 50-year community vision for West Cliff document at the city of Santa Cruz website.

For information on available real estate in Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County contact me anytime. I am here to help you find your next perfect Santa Cruz area home. Contact me anytime with any Santa Cruz County real estate needs. I am here to help with both buying and selling Santa Cruz area properties.

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