Road Diet Redux

City wants to make Petaluma Boulevard South one lane in each direction from McNear Avenue all the way through downtown.

The city’s department of Public Works wants to turn Petaluma Boulevard South from four to two lanes, extending the so-called “road diet” from downtown to McNear Avenue, near the city’s southern edge.

Traffic lanes have already been reduced from four to two on Petaluma Boulevard North (north of Washington Street) and this spring the same will happen downtown.

And if the city’s grant is approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, it will transform nearly the entire stretch of the boulevard to just one lane in each direction.

“This is designed to maintain the flow of traffic while improving other aspects of traffic, primarily safety,” said Larry Zimmer, a traffic engineer for the city.

“The boulevard has undersized lanes and undersize parking and a higher accident rate than we should have for the amount of traffic that passes there…There are side swipes and pedestrian accidents; all of these things we can fix with these changes.”

In addition to widening lanes and repaving, changes include adding “sharrows”, signage allocating space for cyclists. (Bicycle lanes will not be put in.)

On Monday, the City Council will vote on whether to allow the department to proceed with an application to the One Bay Area Grant program, a sweeping $320 million regional plan aimed at improving linkages between mass transit and housing.

Road improvements are an integral component of the plan and Sonoma County stands to receive $23 million, with about $2 million to $3 million going to Petaluma.

But in order to qualify, improvements must be made in “priority development areas,” meaning they are close to mass transit. In Petaluma, four streets have been identified as fitting the requirement, including Lakeville, D Street, East Washington Street and Petaluma Boulevard.

What do you think of the proposal to turn the southern portion of the boulevard into one lane in each direction? Is it a good idea?

SP November 16, 2012 at 04:11 AM
You are right Tony, we drive through the minefield of potholes to save time. Child please!
SP November 16, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Emily, you can't be serious. There is a compromise, but this is not a reasonable one.
SP November 16, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Since 85-90% of the people disagree, let's take this message to the City Council! Are there going to hearings on this?
The Happy Medium November 18, 2012 at 05:37 AM
In order to receive money the town has to create something stupid to get it. That about sums it up. Who ever wrote this article left out some major pieces of information to satisfy the logic of such ill-conceived changes. Example: Would doing this create a bus lane? I say NO way! With the DUMB Train traffic was backed up from train station up to Webster St. on Bodega - same on Lakeville/people trying to get around the Dumb Train. The Boulevard at least provides some relief to go to D Street, or Petaluma Blvd. to Lakeville to Madison to cross town! Ha! You just wait till it happens with only one lane through any of these streets. I saw. Everyone was waiting en mass with their bloody engines running for 10 minutes for a Stupid stinkin' diesel train to pass. Like THAT is supposed to reduce CO2 emissions with all stopped? Same: D, E. Washington, Lakeville or Pet Blvd are routes people need unclogged to go around the Stupid Train ~ not single lanes with people trying to parallel park too. Not a few people benefit while the majority suffers. Poor excuse people get "swiped" when Walkers/Bike riders can use light clothing and blinky lights.
Patrick M. November 18, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Great thinking, make it as hard as possible to get downtown. I have generally avoided the downtown since the first section of "road diet" went in due to the backups on Petaluma Blvd. Between this and the train traffic cutting the town in half, it is unlikely that I will find any reason to go near the downtown area.


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