Walking is about as basic as it gets when concerning modes of transportation and exercise. Luckily, Santa Cruz is pretty friendly when it comes to pedestrians.
Rules of the Sidewalk
Upon arrival in Santa Cruz, many Southern Californians are shocked at the extent of which pedestrians have the right-of-way. The "yield to pedestrians" law is exploited to the fullest, often with pedestrians barely pausing at street corners, especially when there is a crosswalk and no electronic crossing sign. One of the worst intersections of unyielding pedestrian traffic is at Pacific Avenue and Cathcart. This doesn't mean that you necessarily should act this way, but it is the norm.
Walking at Night
Though walking by day often yields no problems, nighttime walking can be another matter. Many streets, especially in residential areas, do not have street lights.
Additionally, more recent increases in the number of sexual assaults against women (in addition to to already high statistics), are cause for concern. Luckily, there are resources in place ( such as Women's Crisis Support / Defensa De Mujeres and UCSC Rape Prevention Education) to increase awareness of rape and educate women and men about staying safe and protecting oneself.
- The city has put together a collection Safe Routes Maps which delineates safer routes by which children and other individuals may bike or walk to local elementary schools.
- An excellent, up-to-date Bikeways Map is available for free from the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission. Even though it is a bike map, it is still very useful when walking and negotiating the senseless city street layout. You can download it as a PDF, or for a more compact, durable and cohesive copy, they are available at the SCCRTC office (1523 Pacific Avenue) and are often available on the second floor of the Santa Cruz Public Library, main branch.