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Santa Rosa says bye-bye to traffic circles

Santa Rosa city crews reapply the crosswalks at McConnell Avenue and Humboldt Street after removal of the Bicycle Boulevard traffic circle. JOHN BURGESS/PD

By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

City workers on Thursday began removing the much maligned temporary roundabouts on Humboldt Street, replacing them with a series of flat-topped speed bumps aimed at slowing traffic along Santa Rosa’s so-called Bicycle Boulevard.

“Everything associated with the circles are being removed,” said city transportation planner Nancy Adams.

The work closes a contentious chapter in the city’s efforts to be more bicycle-friendly.

Four temporary traffic circles were installed along a one-mile stretch of Humboldt Street in 2009 as a way to put bicyclists on a more equal footing with cars.

Supporters hoped the project would create a safer, more comfortable riding route for bicyclists that would encourage more people to pedal to and from downtown.

Average traffic speeds did drop, but the circles confused some drivers. The safety of pedestrians at intersections where traffic did not stop also became an issue. Some residents also resented their street being used as what they saw as a social experiment.

Challengers for city council last year cited the project as evidence of the skewed priorities of the previous environmental-leaning majority. Making the circles and other improvements permanent was estimated to cost as much as $800,000.

Last fall, the council’s most ardent bicycle advocate, Veronica Jacobi, lost her reelection bid and a majority viewed as more favorable to business interests returned to power. One of the new council’s first moves was to remove traffic circles. The installation of speed tables was a compromise aimed at finding a different way of reducing traffic speeds.

Adams said the project has been a “sensitive” one for the neighborhood, which was about evenly split over whether to keep the circles or scrap them.

“It’s been a very challenging effort to try to implement something that wasn’t really well defined in folks’ minds, in a neighborhood that’s very large and diverse and has a lot of different ideas,” Adams said.

Work to remove the four circles and replace them with six mid-block speed tables will take about two weeks, she said. The intersection at McConnell will return to a four-way stop, while the three others will have stop signs reinstalled only in the east-west directions, letting north-south traffic to flow unimpeded.

Signs referring to the street as Bicycle Boulevard will remain.





17 Responses to “Santa Rosa says bye-bye to traffic circles”

  1. Terry says:

    Let’s see…the city put out lots of money to put in those stupid ‘circles’, now they have put out even more money to take them out.
    I can think of many other better ways to use that money they wasted. Like fixing the roads for one.
    Santa Rosa sure is living up to the motto I came up with for them:
    Santa Rosa…plan for the future …in the future!

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  2. Thank You says:

    Thanks Santa Rosa Neighborhood Coalition.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

  3. BigDogatPlay says:

    Can a few of us Petaluma residents print this article and present it to our council?

    No more roundabouts.

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  4. Cherie Maria says:

    So as someone who lives off of Humboldt which makes it part of my commute home the speed bumps ain’t that big of a deal, why cause I’m heading home I’m turning off the main drag driving up a residential street and pulling into my driveway hence I’m already slowed down to the point where a speed bump is a non issue.

    Now where people are going to have problems is when they want to exceed 25 miles per hour because they are used to having Humboldt as a cut through and they are used to blazing through the neighborhood at 45 mph with no signs of slowing down. For those folks get ready to say goodbye to your under carriage or your bumper or your muffler cause you’re about to get a real surprise!

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 14

  5. Kevin McCallum says:

    Genu Flect,

    I wasn’t trying to be “snarky” using the phrase “so-called,” merely to note that some bike advocates stated publicly that they would no longer consider it a “Bike Boulevard” after the changes.

    Is it a bike boulevard because they leave the signs up?

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  6. Genu Flect says:

    C’mon, Mr. McCallum.
    “Santa Rosa’s *so-called* Bicycle Boulevard”???
    So now I suppose you’ll go around saying “Santa Rosa’s so-called newspaper”, “Santa Rosa’s so-called downtown”, “Santa Rosa’s so-called leaders, “and “Santa Rosa’s so-called concerned citizens”?
    How about letting snarky comments reside in the comments section and not in the so-called journalism section.

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 14

  7. Joe Public says:

    What you have here is government placating special interest, in this case the tricycle coalition, and as usual when this is attempted it just cost the rest of us, mo-money, mo-money, mo-money…

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 6

  8. John bly says:

    I guess the only good part of this story is that this is a less bad solution. Lately, that seems like “WINNING”

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  9. Dr. Seuss Fan says:

    They should insert traffic circles into “Go Dog Go” so that we are trained from a young age to understand what to do in traffic circles, just like stop signs.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

  10. Kim says:

    Congrats Santa Rosa!

    Hey Petaluma! Take heed!

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

  11. Sue Whitaker says:

    Woo hoo. maybe we’ll be able to safely ride a bicycle on Humboldt again. Don’t forget it was Nancy Adams that had to come up with a plan to stop the madness. I don’t think the city council could find its way out of a paper bag. Not happy with how long it took to undo this dangerous design.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  12. Steveguy says:

    All city streets that request speed calming devices have to go through studies and justificaion for installing them, and if my memory serves me right the City turns down many requests for them.

    No one on Humboldt that I know of requested speed bumps. Nobody.

    I urge the neighborhood to go to the next City Council Meeting to let their feelings known. Maybe some from other areas of the city that wanted a speed bump and were refused can go voice their own opinion too.

    The only “need” for them was to save face for the politicians that rammed this through. That is the only reason the bumps are being installed.

    I don’t think that someone’s feelings should determine the viabilty of speed bumps.

    I live in Windsor now, so it’s not my fight. But if I still lived there, I would have been loud from the beginning, as some of my old neighbors are now.

    STOP THE BUMPS ! What kind of Government do we have ? This is not only rediculous, it is sickening.

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 4

  13. I thought the city of Santa Rosa was broke? says:

    Where do they keep finding tax money for projects like this? One more reason to vote “no” on any tax increase or the continuation of any existing tax.

    Thumb up 42 Thumb down 3

  14. Steveguy says:

    I used to live four doors down from the corner of Humboldt and McConnell, and also have lived on Pacific Avenue a few houses from McConnell.I have friends that live in the area.

    First of all, I rode a bike in the neighborhood as did my kids very frequently, and the locals used and still use Slater Street anyway for riding a bike ! Maybe King Steet too.

    There was no problem at all with speeding cars on my block, now they want a hump, that will be far worse than doing nothing ! Good spot for people “peeling out”. Thanks Santa Rosa, for nothing, but nothing should have been done in the first place. The neighborhood told you that from the very beginning ! The ‘compromise solution’ is a waste, and hope the neighborhood gets them removed soon.

    Please cite a study that Humboldt has a speeding problem. The humps are just a feel good measure to placate the fools that proposed this mess in the first place.

    Leave Humboldt Street alone !

    Thumb up 36 Thumb down 4

  15. Kay Tokerud says:

    GAJ, I couldn’t agree with you more. Now, the City must save face by not restoring the street but installing more unneeded and unwanted ‘traffic calming’ devices (bumps). A shocking amount of money and staff hours were wasted on this boondoggle that lasted way too long. It’s too bad when we elect idealogues that insist on building their pet project on a neighborhood street without the consent of the residents. There was no problem to begin with.

    Until we elect more reasonable minded people that will leave well enough alone, we will continue to see these kinds of ill-advised and intrusive projects. What little money we have should go to basic services like STREETLIGHTS. That would be money well spent.

    Thumb up 35 Thumb down 5

  16. Alex says:

    I am glad to see those circles finally removed. This is a reason why public distrust is so high because of how the government just spends money foolishly. How about this news flash, more of police enforcing traffic speeds in the WHOLE neighborhood and bicyclists obeying the laws just like automobiles would work 100%. One more thing, fix the darn sidewalks so people who choose to do the greenest and the most free thing can do it without harm. That is what community is about walking throughout the neighborhood..not speeding on a car or bicycle. Good God, what idiots.
    Want Bike Boulevard…move to Portland. Create a safe neighborhood for WALKING, living, biking, and driving…get rid of the speed humps because they do nothing but are a pain to ride a bike over or to drive on..plus you hear speeding between them. Another waste of money..good grief!

    Thumb up 35 Thumb down 5

  17. GAJ says:

    Stop the madness; return the road to what it was before; a perfectly acceptable little street that was safe as it was for bicycles, pedestrians and cars.

    These steel bumps will be removed, mark my words, as soon as those living near the intersections start hearing the “bump thump.”

    Every attempt to “improve” this road simply makes it worse…and costs money the City really can’t spare.

    Thumb up 42 Thumb down 6

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