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Cotati orders report on roundabouts ban



Traffic roundabouts dominated conversation in Cotati for months last year. Now they are back at the fore of the city’s politics, driven

Cotati (PD FILE)

there by residents who want to ban them.

The City Council on Wednesday, responding to a voter initiative to prohibit roundabouts or any “similiar traffic features” inside the city, ordered a report on the impacts of such a move.

“It would be imprudent not to do a little further analysis on this,” Councilman John Del’Osso said.

The report will examine how the such an ordinance would affect public safety and the city’s economy, its consistency with the general plan and its financial impact.

The unanimous action presages the initiative’s almost certain appearance on the November 6 ballot. The council has the option of enacting it as an ordinance, but that is unlikely.

Initiative supporters said Wednesday the report serves no purpose and the council should decide immediately to send it the voters.

“I think it sends the wrong message to the community” to spend money on a study, longtime gadfly and former councilman George Barich said.

But Mayor Susan Harvey said voters need the information a report would provide.

“I don’t believe that what was presented to the public to get the (petition) signatures had that information about the impact to the city,” she said.

The initiative petition grew out of opposition to a plan to narrow a stretch of Old Redwood Highway, the city’s main commercial strip, and install two roundabouts.

The $3.5 million project, part of a long-planned revitalization, was intended to maintain a small-town feel, while also spurring more business and making the street more attractive and safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and shoppers.

Opponents said it would cause traffic congestion and accidents and stifle business on the half-mile corridor.

Those complaints were amplified by Oliver’s Market officials, who said they would pull out of their plan to open a store downtown if the plan was adopted.

The council approved the roundabouts in December. But elimination of redevelopment agencies already has placed the project’s future in doubt. The redesign was to rely on about $2.5 million in redevelopment funds.

11 Responses to “Cotati orders report on roundabouts ban”

  1. Today’s lesson on media bias:

    When a liberal disagrees with conservative politicians, he’s a critic.

    When a conservative disagrees with liberal politicians, he’s a gadfly.(See story above.)


    1. A fly that bites livestock, esp. a horsefly, warble fly, or botfly.

    2. An annoying person, esp. one who provokes others into action by criticism


    1. A person who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something.

    2. A person who judges the merits of literary, artistic, or musical works, esp. one who does so professionally.

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  2. Skippy says:

    “We are a bunch of hicks who can’t properly steer a car in a circle.”
    Pretty much sums up the respect our betters have for us.
    They are soooo much smarter and sophisticated.
    Eat the elite.

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  3. Memo to James and Chris:

    Your sophistication is not the issue, nor are the roundabouts themselves.

    The issues have always been:

    1. Narrowing a five-lane street, which functions as a throughway, to one lane in each direction, which will reduce it to a parking lot.

    2. The $3.5 million cost, which can not be paid, now that redevelopment funds have been rightfully returned to the state.

    3. The disruption of business to merchants on both sides or ORH, many of whom will not survive the prolonged disruption.

    4. The unconscionable treatment of Oliver’s Market, who paid $3.6 million for land to build a new store/retail center. then spent over $400,000 in plans, only to find the city clumsily decided to put a roundabout square in the middle of one of the buildings they had planned. As a result of city bungling, Oliver’s will likely not build at all, and that site will remain an eyesore for another decade.

    5. The fact that the city wasted over a million dollars on the Downtown Specific Plan, which had no roundabouts, then decided that their plan was worthless.

    Those are the real issues, not that we are a bunch of hicks who can’t properly steer a car in a circle.

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  4. Proud in Cotati says:

    vote the bums out of office

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  5. Billy C says:

    So the last 100 years of traffic engineering has been wrong all this time?
    Are we stupid or what!? We have to find the money to fix this problem ASAP! Maybe
    we can get the money from SMART.

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  6. Jim Bennett says:

    ‘James’ & ‘Chris’:
    Try running that rhetoric by a property/business owner that paid dearly for a corner location that provided a captive audience of motorists for a full minute or two.
    Ask that same owner how they feel about parking shenanigans. Parking=Business.
    Commercial real estate people know it.
    Citizens & shoppers know it.
    ICLEI knows it.

    Local government’s job is to facilitate OUR American Dream, not a Soviet gulag dream, or Adolph’s urban planning 101.

    Oppressive societal models always want the serfs out of their private property, out of resources, out of business and contained in their boxes so they can be controlled.

    It’s true, history does repeat itself.

    Hopefully this time we will benefit from past history lessons.

    The arrogant local governmental culture (cult?) thinks they have taken the measure of our resolve. As they will soon see…they have not.

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  7. Skippy says:

    @ J Dallas,
    Thanks for your insight. I guess everything European will work here as well.
    We are almost like Greece already.
    Do us all a favor.
    Go back to your fabulous international bon vivant lifestyle and let Cotati folks determine their own future.

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  8. Chris from Santa Rosa says:

    Properly engineered roundabouts can improve traffic throughput and reduce the number and severity of accidents. This isn’t just my opinion, it’s a *fact*, supported by dozens of traffic studies. I guess the malcontents in Cotati really like the much higher risk of injury accidents with traditional intersections.

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  9. Kim says:

    Yes they do have roundabouts in Europe, put in place in the days of the Roman Empire. Great traffic contol for horse drawn carts and the like BUT a pain in the buttox for cars and trucks! Now we know where the promoters of roundabouts heads are…back in the days BC.

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  10. James Dallas says:

    Cotati residents are soo parochial! I have lived and travelled all over the world and roundabouts are used sucessfully all over. They allow traffic to flow and avoid having to stop at silly stop signs when there is no cross traffic. I am sure Cotati residents can learn to use roundabouts? Come on people, its not rocket science.

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  11. Jim Bennett says:

    What part of NO don’t they get.
    Now they’ll commission an ICLEI approved firm to ‘study’ and substantiate their ICLEI directed ‘Plan’. Lunacy.

    You can’t cut the PD’s bias with a chain saw; how dare they call George Barich a ‘gadfly’. A patriot that didn’t want to indebt Cotati’s children with grant money that would be used for oppressive Smart Growth crap.

    I say this is where we, as Sonoma County citizens draw a line in the sand.
    This little town is just a microcosm of what’s going on all over the County and our Country.

    Cotati City Hall: you’ve forgotten who pays the bills. Who you work for, and your oath. We will help your memory.

    Keep pushin’ it guys, and even casual observers are gonna ask. Why do these public servants have SO much resolve to disregard the will of the people?

    Some response-able citizens need to remind you.

    I intend to be in that line.

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