By Gabe Meline
The second community meeting addressing the Humboldt Street Bicycle Boulevard project in Santa Rosa takes place Thursday, Dec. 10, where the public is invited to respond to the temporary trial period of changes enacted along Humboldt Street. The Bicycle Boulevard, with its series of intersection roundabouts currently placed in plastic, offers the public a near-accurate representation of what driving and cycling on Humboldt Street will be like if the bicycle advocacy project is set in literal concrete.
The trial period enters its second stage soon with significant changes to the intersections at Humboldt and College avenues and Humboldt and Pacific avenues. Pending a city council vote on Dec. 15, all vehicular traffic on College will be prohibited from turning left onto Humboldt Street from either direction. The intersection, long a problem for accidents involving left turns, will feature prominent signage about the changes. Nancy Adams, traffic planner with Santa Rosa's Public Works department, says that adding a left-turn pocket to the intersection wasn't considered because of the goals of the Bicycle Boulevard project. "It's really a vehicle reduction tool," she says, "that would result in fewer volume of cars coming down Humboldt."
Furthermore, at Humboldt and Pacific avenues, project planners will test a barrier that would prohibit vehicles from entering Humboldt Street from any direction except eastbound on Pacific, and which would force all Humboldt traffic approaching from both directions to turn right onto Pacific. Pending the Dec. 15 council vote, temporary plastic barriers would be in place until around March 2010, when the entire Bicycle Boulevard project comes under review to be made permanent.
So far, confirms Adams, the Bicycle Boulevard project has cost the city between $35,000 and $38,000; implementing the changes permanently is projected to cost $250,000. In the meantime, the project has drawn its share of criticism, from cyclists who feel safer riding on the new Mendocino Avenue bike lanes to residents who say the roundabouts are too tight and cause near misses with pedestrians. In almost equal doses, it's backed by supporters, including the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition and the Junior College Neighborhood Association, who'd like to see less traffic on what is often a busy side street during rush hours.
A second community meeting on the Bicycle Boulevard project is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 10, at the Steele Lane Community Center, 415 Steele Lane, Santa Rosa. 6pm-. The city council is scheduled to adopt resolutions for the intersection changes at the meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at City Hall, 100 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa. 4pm. For more information, call the Department of Public Works at 707.543.3910.
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