WatchSonoma Watch

Santa Rosa approves blueprint for bike lanes


The plan to make Santa Rosa more bicycle and pedestrian friendly now includes bike lanes through a retirement community that doesn’t want them and a bicycle boulevard not far from where an existing one is set to be torn out.

The Santa Rosa City Council on Tuesday signed off on an overhaul to the city’s 2010 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, its wish list outlining where 88 miles of bike lanes and 5 miles of walking paths should be built over time.

The proposed changes encountered opposition chiefly from two neighborhoods, the retirement communities of Oakmont and the Villages at Wild Oaks in eastern Santa Rosa, and the West End, the residential and industrial neighborhood north of Railroad Square.

Oakmont-area residents argued that bike lanes are incompatible with their neighborhood because it will increase the risk of accidents between senior drivers and recreational cyclists.

“We do not see how you can run a proposed Class 3 (bicycle lane) through the residential streets of a retirement community,” said Wally Schilpp, a longtime Oakmont resident.

Map of existing and proposed bike paths (click to enlarge)

Schilpp and others have argued that the packs of recreational cyclists that traverse a disputed easement between Villages at Wild Oaks and Annadel State Park go too fast, don’t obey traffic signals, are rude and risk collisions with pedestrians. In addition, Schilpp said, Oakmont has its share of elderly drivers “who shouldn’t but do” drive, suggesting cyclists would be at risk.

But Councilwoman Susan Gorin said the residents’ suggestion that bike paths instead be built along Highway 12 wasn’t viable because of the expense. She noted that Oakmont is a “natural connection” for cyclists heading east.

John Sawyer said Oakmont is unique. Nowhere else, for example, are golf carts allowed on city streets. But approving the plan doesn’t assure individual projects will be constructed, he said.

“It’s a unique environment and one that I hope we’ll watch carefully,” he said.

Residents of the West End neighborhood near downtown had been concerned that dedicated bike lanes on West Sixth Street would eliminate precious on-street parking. The lanes were viewed as an important link for bikes to get to the future SMART rail station.

But following the previous hearing, residents came up with the idea of a bicycle boulevard that would slow traffic, preserve parking, and create a safe environment for cyclists. Details will have to be worked out, but the council welcomed the concept.

Gary Wysocky suggested the plan use another term than “bicycle boulevard,” which he said might be “inflammatory” given the recent controversy over bicycle-friendly improvements to Humboldt Street, most of which are due for removal this spring following neighborhood opposition.

But Scott Bartley said he didn’t mind keeping the term because it “gives us a great deal of flexibility” about what to ultimately design there.

“I think it speak volumes when a problem comes up and the community gets together and solves it and we don’t have to do it,” said Vice Mayor Jake Ours.

15 Responses to “Santa Rosa approves blueprint for bike lanes”

  1. The bike coalition is celebrating when gas prices go up. They don’t want electric cars—they have said that private cars are ‘anti-social’ and that people need to get out of them.

    This philosophy that they know better how we should live is over now. Forget it, bike coalition. You think that if people are poor enough they’ll use public transportation and move into high density residential condos in the center of town. You ride around with the smug attitude that you’re doing something with your green MBA and no job. The new poverty gives you time to play with my tax money while feeling like a savior of the environment. A joke that you would be instructing working people on how to live.

    You’re just more useless idiots and part of the Agenda 21 plan. The collapse of farming and industry is not something to be celebrated.

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  2. In order to understand the inexplicable resolve the City has with bikes’n trains. You would need the benefit of the picture on the front of this fascist box.Bikes’n trains are a couple pieces of the puzzle.

    The freedom that your automobile offers isn’t in the picture. The privacy of your rural/country lifestyle isn’t in the picture either.You see this ‘bicycle indoctrination’ represents WAY MORE than its ‘green’ picture. The pieces missing would be your financial abundance,your freedom,your rights—those aren’t part of the picture. ‘Sustainable’ this,’Smart’ that– it’s all in the same box. So when you recognize and oppose this dark Agenda and see it for what it really represents, you do the community great service. I like the box that says ‘American Dream’.The picture we were taught,thrived and grew up with. It WORKED! To understand more,
    Google:Freedom Advocates,Democrats Against UN Agenda 21,Stop Agenda21,Morph City,Senate Bill 1619,Agenda 21 for dummies.
    You won’t be so puzzled.Scared…but not puzzled.

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  3. cyclist says:

    We don’t have the money then why the hell are they spending $257,000 to do something that is totally wasteful? I don’t see too many of you complaining about that! See this article http://www.watchsonomacounty.com/2011/02/cities/santa-rosa-downtown-gets-ready-for-a-makeover/

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  4. good one says:

    I guess we can’t go at least one week without the So Co bike collation looking for yet more money to be spent on their group. Gorin and Wysocki just don’t get it. We don’t have the MONEY. And I hear that the lawsuit the City has filed against the homeowners in Wild Oak has been delayed. How much is the city paying for that suit?

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  5. cyclist says:

    Is bicycle transportation or recreational? The way I see it is 1 bike on the road is 1 car less on the road and 1 car less to wear and tare the road and 1 less car to polute etc etc…. May be if you know how to do the MATH! And the other matter you voted for the quarter cent sales tax to build the SMART train and the pedestrian / bike path. Now everybody is paying for that too!

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  6. Mike says:

    Why is so much time, ink and city council effort being spent on a small group of bike riders? These spandex people get far too much ink for their numbers.

    They demand and the city council obeys. Why, if they want to ride let them do it on the existing streets. They certainly do not deserve special bike paths along side the train to no where or through senior residencies.

    Fix the roads so we can all travel safely.

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  7. cyclist says:

    Well I guess Kat said it all. It’s me, me, me. How much does a bike lane cost anyway? The cost of paint and the labor to stripe it?

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  8. Kat says:

    @ Cherie Maria

    I will ride my scooter or motorcycle before I ride a bicycle to work or any other place….please don’t use my tax $$$ on bike lanes

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  9. Cherie Maria says:

    Fuel prices have gone up 9 cents a gallon in the last two weeks.

    The predictions of $5/gallon by summer have not been counter argued. The best case scenario we’ve heard is $3.95/gallon.

    We have stopped allowing permits to drill off the coast of the United States because of the BP disaster so our oil needs are requiring us to become very import dependent. At the same time emerging markets around the world are becoming greater consumers of oil as the quality of living increases due to the economic up turn they experienced from manufacturing companies sourcing plants and jobs abroad.

    So the average vehicle is using a 15 gallon tank which at $3.50 a gallon equals $52.50 to fill.

    By this summer that cost could rise to $75.00.

    So if our city council does not tackle the need for alternate transportation and transit oriented development then they would be failing to see where the market is already heading.

    Santa Rosa is a bike and walkable city by design eventually the market will move folks in that direction when the cost of goods rises along with the cost of fuel since there are no economic predictions of wages increasing on pace with fuel costs. So what are you going to cut? Driving your car as much or stop eating food?

    Consumers are pretty savvy when it comes to discovering every time you bike somewhere that fuel cost you just saved means you now have that much more money to spend on goods you need. Making the road accessible and bike friendly adds to the cost saving benefit.

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  10. Dave Madigan says:

    I sure am glad that all of the other problems facing the City of Santa Rosa have been solved. I am glad that the fire department and police department are back to full funding. I am glad that all of the street lights have been turned back on. I am glad that the parks are back to being fully maintained.

    Obviously all of these problems have been fixed if the City Council has time and money to play with bike lanes!

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  11. cyclist says:

    By that same token I don’t want my tax dollar to go to the buses transit, the SMART train, the up keep of the city parks, public pools and everything else that are funded by my tax dollars since I don’t use any of it. But I do want only the streets that I use daily to be clean, pot holes filled, street lights in working order, storm drains unclogged, and everything that affects me personally! Grow up people! Better yet slim down.

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  12. Soccermom says:

    A.) Ticket bike riders who do not follow the law B.) Do not let seniors drive (DMV) THAT cannot DO SO SAFELY C.) Spend tax dollars on filling potholes please; did we let as those folks go?

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  13. Kat says:

    I’m in my 40′s and must say that I side with Oakmont. People move to Oakmont to get away from it all I would not want a group of bike riders racing around my street and if you don’t like the way I drive then stay the HELL away.

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  14. The Hammer says:

    How do the cyclists plan on funding this? I don’t want my tax dollars used for bike trails at this point in time. I’d rather the homeless get the money. Or even better, I would like to see the streets repaired.

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  15. Eric Newman says:

    It is a testament to the temper of the times that the concept of a “bicycle boulevard” is controversial. We might as well get started now on planning for transit-oriented development that reduces the dependence on cars.

    We will need to re-engineer our national infra-structure in the next few decades to accomodate the effects of peak oil and to slow down the onset of catastrophic climate change.

    Every year that we delay will merely compound the severity of the problem and increase the costs of dealing with it.

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