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?

Frank p agius November 14, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Why no Bike Lanes? If your going to reconfigure the whole Blvd. why not improve it for cyclists as well? Poor planning again..
mikeg55 November 14, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Yet another reason to avoid downtown all together.
Jolene Sisseck November 15, 2012 at 12:38 AM
This is a ridiculous PLAN.... Make the traffic backup even more going to town!!!....Not to smart people on the planning commission!
SP November 15, 2012 at 04:34 AM
It is a horrible idea. Two things will happen: first, people will avoid downtown all together because of the traffic thereby undoing all of the progress made to revitalize downtown which is now fantastic. Second, the traffic on sidestreets will increase thereby making the already deplorable conditions even worse and we have yet to see a plan to fix the potholes.
Wire November 15, 2012 at 04:47 AM
They want the car parked or scraped as a thirty five year plan, Agenda 21, to use mass transit and the bicycles as the car is history. It happened in Santa Rosa's Sonoma Ave. four lanes to two lanes with safe left turn lanes. Your elected leaders and where were you when this was brought up at the city meetings? Didn't they tell you?
Petaluma November 15, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Horrible, moronic, idiotic...Traffic already backs-up due to the previous "road diet" reductions. How about no street parking between Western & E Washington to improve traffic flow so won't back up through the entire downtown?
Bradford A Morris November 15, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Say good bye small bussiness in downtown area to large box stores that are easy to get to with plenty of parking. Mr Zimmer are you not aware of the streets in Petaluma in need of repairs or replacing. Is it not important to make all the streets safe instead of new ideas when it comes to street ideas? I have an idea make another parking garage and get rid of the cars that park on Petaluma blvd. this will free up traffic back up, make the area user friendly and safe form injuries to people and cars etc. I guess the city wage for these job's is so low that prime employess with good judgement do not apply to the city of Petaluma. You get what you pay for. Hey Mayor wake up your city takes one step forward and then two back with the bad judgements and ideas for review that cost money.
Tony Mangione November 15, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Bad Idea. There is too much traffic on Pet Blvd So to consider cutting the lanes down to one. This is worse than a bad idea - this is IDIOTIC.
Cindy Fox November 15, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Sounds bad to me, along with the moronic round about at the end of Pet Blvd So. No one knows how to use it unless they are from the east coast, yield to traffic on the right, it doesn't mean zoom through and screw everyone else there.
tony November 15, 2012 at 04:51 PM
The sky is falling! Downtown will evaporate! The End of Times if they do the road diet. Or not. I didn't like the PBN road diet, but neither me nor you nor anyone else stopped going downtown. Child Please!
Emily November 15, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Road diets, if used well, produce lower accident rates and better safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. We should celebrate the opportunity to reconstruct this part of our city into a safer and more livable place. I applaud the City for this work!
Goofpod November 15, 2012 at 05:08 PM
1) Learn from Sebastopol: 3 lanes one-way with tons of angled parking. Opposite way is Lakeville or even 4th Street. Major re-do but well worth the time and effort long-term. 2) Learn from Sonoma: close off Kentucky between Western and Washington; plant grass, trees, add benches and a fountain. A premiere pedestrian attraction instead of a greenhouse gas factory. Convert the eye-sore lot between Grocery Outlet and the Train Depot to a Community Square like Sonoma. A park-like setting within walking distance of downtown via our River Footbridge, convenient to buses and trains. 3) These two new improvements tie downtown Petaluma together, creating a wonderful pedestrian shopping / strolling experience drawing people from all over the Bay Area. The premiere walking Rivertown destination.
Cheryl Tennyson November 15, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Road Diet!! I call it Artery Clog.
TechMonkey74 November 15, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I have never understood the idiot that came up with this "Road Diet" which I will refer to as "Road Diarrhea". Petaluma is growing, WAIT that's right the previous Petaluma City council sends all our business OUT OF TOWN. But if it was growing then the best thing to do for traffic is have LESS LANES! RIGHT?! AREN'T WE SMART?! Ummm No. Hell I can play Sim City and a more success than some of our city officials.
Barry Kruse November 15, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Well, I can't argue that the lanes downtown are undersized, but this is certainly one more factor that will keep me away from downtown. I already go there a lot less than I did 10 years ago. What, if anything, will be done to make left turns any less dangerous than they have become? And will anyone explain to me how these high-tech crosswalks work? I honestly cannot figure out how pedestrians are supposed to tell that traffic has been alerted to let them cross.
mikeg55 November 15, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I actually avoid downtown. I hadn't been there in month's and just recently went there for the Veterans Day Parade.
mary winslow November 16, 2012 at 12:19 AM
This plan makes no sense. The people who think up these ideas have far too much time on their hands. There seems to be money for these ill-advised schemes, but none for street maintenance. There is an interesting feature on Keller Street. It is now two-way, but drivers can only turn right onto Washington Street, which means that even residents who live to the west of Keller Street have to turn back downtown. Do real people actually approve these plans?
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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