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I’m pleased to report that the City Council last night unanimously approved the bicycle lane feasibility study prepared by W-Trans. Changes from the previous presentation included dropping Petaluma Ave. to a single lane between Spooner Park and the Joe Rodota Trail and adding sharrows markings to Willow Street. The various elements will likely cost about $1.5 million to fully implement, not including additional costs to rehabilitate some of the roadways. Although portions on the City-owned streets could be done piecemeal, the SR 116 corridor must be addressed as a single project in order to gain Caltrans appoval.


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Lynn Deedler, Sandra Lupien (Sonoma Co. Bicycle Coalition) and I all spoke and commended W-Trans, City staff and the Council for the plan.  Lynn argued for removing parking on Petaluma Ave. and I suggested that removing the lane would likely make that stretch and the Rodota Trail crossing safer by slowing traffic speed. Councilmember Shaffer questioned the wisdom of removing 31 parking spaces on the south side of Laguna Park Way due to the development of the City’s transit hub adjacent to the police station; she felt especially wary of losing that many spaces if 11 additional spaces on the east side of Petaluma Ave. between Depot Street and McKinley Street would also be also lost if Caltrans rejects the City’s request for a design exception to narrow both the travel and parking lanes. Councilmember Slayter asked whether separated bike lanes with parking adjacent to the travel lane would be possible; Steve Weinberger of W-Trans replied that physically separated lanes would add considerable cost and that Caltrans has never worked with them before. City Engineer Sue Kelly noted that while it likely will take quite some time to see the plan to full fruition, gaining Caltrans approval for the many changes is a huge step almost unimaginable ten years ago. After further discussion on parking spaces and the need to balance current safety against future parking needs, Mayor Wilson and Councilmembers Slayter and Shaffer all voted “aye” to accept the plan as prepared (Councilmembers Gurney and Kyes were absent).

City staff will now revise the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which will make the City eligible for a variety of grants to move forward.