WatchSonoma Watch

Cotati roundabouts likely on fall ballot


The Cotati City Council indicated Wednesday it will place a voter-driven initiative that would prohibit roundabouts on the Nov. 6 ballot, after first being told its passage would disrupt key city policies and public works projects, as well as potentially reduce safety on its streets.

Such impacts were suggested in a report the council asked for last month and that effectively served as a pre-emptive election argument against an ordinance it clearly opposes.

“The initiative is inconsistent with everything we say in our general plan,” Mayor Susan Harvey said.

The initiative, which the council will likely place on the ballot at its Aug. 8 meeting, would implement an ordinance that would ban roundabouts or similar “traffic features” from ever being built within the city’s limits.

The council has the option of adopting it as an ordinance or putting it to voters. Harvey noted that the ability for citizens to force a vote on something is a welcome feature of democracy — then added that “next it could be no one is allowed in the parks.”

Angry murmurs greeted that statement, issuing from a large crowd that had threaded the meeting with accusations that the council is in league with a United Nations-led effort to subvert the U.S. Constitution and, in particular, private property rights.

Those speakers included roundabout foes who said that opposition to the initiative on the part of three council members up for re-election this year, including Harvey, will play out against them at the polls.

“I think it’s going to be very much a flashpoint for voters,” Kathryn Wickstrom said.

Though she lives outside the city and cannot vote on city issues, Wickstrom has been a vocal opponent of the city’s plan to install two roundabouts on Old Redwood Highway as part of a $3.5 million redesign of its downtown.

The initiative petition grew out of opposition to that plan, which the council approved in December after nearly a year of often-heated public discussion.

Part of a long-planned revitalization, it was intended to maintain a small-town feel, spur more economic activity and make the street more attractive and safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and shoppers.

Opponents said it would jam traffic, cause 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 company has since indicated it will remain at its current East Cotati Avenue location.

You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or jeremy.hay@pressdemocrat.com.

25 Responses to “Cotati roundabouts likely on fall ballot”

  1. indievoter says:

    @ Snarky

    Go to http://www.iclei.org and see for yourself. You are capable of doing your own research, right?

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  2. Snarky says:

    So, what the hell is “Agenda 21,” anyway?

    Why not post a clear definition rather than posting “Agenda 21″ tripe all the time?

    If you can’t define it in one paragraph, you have no cause to continue posting.

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  3. Snarky says:

    There is another aspect to traffic circles, aka “round abouts,” and that is they totally eliminate the concept of the traffic citation for running a stop sign because cars slow but do not stop.

    The media, by comparison of traffic citation data, has documented that local and state government has been using the traffic fines as a mechanism to fund government despite having always claimed, obviously falsely, that traffic fines were merely a tool to enhance driving safety.

    Vote for traffic circles and you eliminate the need for an expensive motorcycle cop to sit there doing nothing most of the day as he waits for that occasional motorist to roll rather than stop at the sign.

    We can no longer afford expensive cops to sit and do nothing most of the day while traffic circles offer a better and more enjoyable drive.

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  4. Jim Bennett says:

    Dr. Freud:
    might want to get a group discount on shrinks for the 6+ states that have anti-Agenda 21 legislation in place or pending. Also the better part of a hundred communities that have eliminated this societal cancer from their government. Also the entire RNC unanimously passed a resolution to disassociate with ICLEI, UN Agenda 21 Sustainable Development, ‘Sustainable Policy’ et all.
    The cat is out of the bag. We passed the stage of denial a while ago. Time to polish up on your propaganda. Tell the people why we should have our freedoms, our private property, and our economy taken away over a lie.

    I own business’ and properties, my overall health including my mental health is fine, thank you.

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  5. Dr. Freud is in the house says:

    Mr. Bennett needs an intervention by county mental health officers before he does something regrettable. It is one thing to disagree with a land-use decision, but it takes it to another level when he describes an entire city staff and elected council of being traitors to their country and of being “evil ICLEI programmed humanoids…”

    That kind of dehumanization is a prelude to violence. Why does WSC continue to post these ravings? The site’s ratings are already abysmal, due to inadequate moderation. Cut off the oxygen supply. He’s had his fifteen minutes of infamy.

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  6. Grey Whitmore says:

    @ Over Easy …

    I will believe the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety any day over what I might or might not observe.

    The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety has done so much to safeguard the safety of Americans. Year after year their testing leads to further and further refinements of the automobile.

    And why the heck would I trust what I might see over an hour? I’m not a traffic planner. I don’t have access to the safety information. etc., etc.

    One thing I am sure of is I am not educated enough, nor familiar with traffic circle safety, pollution, etc.

    It is at these times that I listen to professionals!

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  7. Anne Durham says:

    Why did the PD article leave out one of the most important parts of the Council meeting on July 25th—the fact that each council member was served with a Misprision of Treason notice for maladministration of public office? This should be of great concern to the people of Cotati for whom you work, and they deserved to have been informed about it in the PD article. The omission of such only shows the very liberal bias of your newspaper and a willingness to practice poor journalism to carry out that bias.

    As far as the Council goes, more revenue could be properly generated by encouraging Oliver’s market plan to build and relocate a larger store. The city could also save a considerable amount by not going with the roundabout idea. Clearly people don’t want these roundabouts, and putting them in will cause Oliver’s to withdraw their plans to rebuild a larger store. Sounds like you would rather get a government handout to carry out the plans of a foreign entity like the UN. than pursue a proper avenue to obtain revenue.

    If you are still in the dark about how UN Agenda 21 ties in with what you’re doing, it is your RESPONSIBILITY as an elected official to find out. There are many knowledgeable people at your meetings who would be glad to help enlighten you, but you have only shown disinterest and disdain so far, thus the reason for the misprision of treason now hanging over your heads.

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  8. Just Me says:

    So, let me get this straight Cotati Almighty Management wants to spend money it doesn’t have to RE-DO what is already DONE to be more like someone else – some other City – than what they are!?!

    Come on folks, don’t you have better ways to waste our tax dollars?

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  9. Jim Bennett says:

    What ‘Round-a-bouts’ are really about:
    - Undermining automobile use.
    - Reconfiguring with deference to bicycles.
    - Reconfiguring as to undermine small business.
    - Reconfiguring as to undermine property values.
    - Creating Smart Growth ‘Plans’ that deliberately crash the municipalities coffers.
    - Reconfiguring convenience, parking, access to benefit favored retail.
    - Acclimating/indoctrinating the citizens to government imposing their will on the landscape (heisting their leg?).
    These ‘plans’ with various warm ‘n fuzzy names engineer and perpetuate the Agenda and the civil change agents that impose them.
    This is happening in ICLEI towns across the Country.
    Like evil ICLEI programmed humanoids…

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  10. Over Easy says:

    @Grey Whitmore

    Don’t believe everything you read, especially from non profits. Instead I would suggest spending 1 hour observing the roundabout on South Petaluma Ave in Petaluma. I promise a near collision, many confused distracted drivers, a moving violation or two, and if you are feeling really brave cross the street with traffic coming and see what happens. Not where I want my kids and mom.

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  11. GAJ says:

    So now because I support the idea of roundabouts I’m a “progressive”?

    Ha ha ha ha ha.

    Well, let me rephrase that; not all “progress” is bad!

    Progress is actually a good thing…like I wish Sacramento would progress towards Pension Reform of anyone receiving a 3%@60 pension or better.

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  12. Skippy says:

    I love the comments from the worldly sophisticates.
    Boil them down and they all say the same things.
    1. Americans are stupid.
    2. Californians are stupider.
    3. Europe is smarter than Americans.
    4. Gravel is smarter than Americans.
    5. See #’s 1 and 2.
    To a progressive, the biggest problem is always the morons getting in the way of evolved enlightenment.
    That’s what makes them so smart; they were taught how stupid Americans are.
    Eventually they tire of insulting us and just start exterminating us.
    On a related note, gun sales in Cal. have skyrocketed this year.

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  13. GAJ says:

    If you can’t handle a well designed traffic circle, (ie. one WITHOUT freaking Stop Signs), you shouldn’t be driving.

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  14. Once again, people who understand almost nothing about the issue think it is about roundabouts per se. It is not.

    The real issues are:

    Reducing the current five-lane street to only one lane in each direction.

    Building an excessive 18 foot landscaped median in the middle. This would prevent northbound drivers from turning left into businesses on the west side of ORH, and southbound drivers from turning left into businesses on the east side.

    Public safety. No matter how many lies the city council, especially Mark Landman, tells about this issue, the RAFD fire chief still feels a four-lane street offers better access to emergency vehicles than a two-lane street.

    These facts, and more, can be found on a site which will be updated regularly: http://www.noroundabouts.com

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  15. Kay Tokerud says:

    U.N. led effort to subvert the US Constitution? Was that U.N. Agenda 21 Sustainable Development perhaps? The PD’s Jeremy Hayes chose to not name it. The media has apparently been warned about naming the plan that is being implemented all over the United States as well as in other countries. The policies are in the General Plan, Mayor Harvey said. Yes, Agenda 21 is woven into all General Plans now, mostly without the public’s knowledge. Now, the public is finding out about it in large numbers. Finally.

    Anything that tears at the fabric of American culture including land and transportation patterns is included in the United Nations led plan, Agenda 21. Do most people drive cars? This is being demonized. Do most people live in single family homes? This is being demonized. Are we prosperous? Demonized. UN Agenda 21 is the largest takeover attempt,or coup d”etat in history, and is in progress now. The plan is really to create a FAILED STATE in this country. Following UN Agenda 21 is a recipe for a failed state and the erection of a global government.

    Roundabouts are just one example of UN Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. Our tax dollars are being used to implement these prolific plans in every town that is leading to bankruptcy in some cases. Do we need a $20 million bike bridge to the mall? Or would it be better to use those transportation dollars to fund the maintenance of county roads? Those pushing Agenda 21 would choose the bike bridge, in fact they have chosen that.

    It’s great all those people showed up to protest in Cotati. The opposition to UN Agenda 21 is growing rapidly. Although the policies are written into law via General Plans etc., in this country these plans and laws can be changed. We are now in an ideoplogical battle for the future of the United States and everyone should inform themselves and stand up for what they believe in. Ridding our towns of the destructive influences of UN Agenda 21 one by one is what will be needed to take back our country from these interlopers who would like nothing more than to see the United States fall. Change? Transformation? No thank you.

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  16. Big Jim says:

    Come on people, you can’t be that torpid! Traffic circles are used all over the world very effectively. They allow traffic to flow instead of having to come to a complete stop when no one else is at the intersection. Yes, even you can learn how to use them! I for one would gladly avoid the risk of a “rolling stop” at a stop sign which goes away with traffic circles.

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  17. sheryl says:

    “Or pay more for the privelege of running red and yellow lights”…Who’s going to issue the tickets? There isn’t enough money in the budget in Cotati for traffic enforcement. Excluding chiefs, just how many full time cops are left in Cotati? Two..three?

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  18. Snarky says:

    I should add that traffic circles can be beautifully & inexpensively landscaped (i.e. grass, flowers) or thrown together in a hideous manner with asphalt curbing around steel traffic signs.

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  19. Snarky says:

    Traffic circles have been successfully used for decades in Western Europe by reducing excessive speed, increasing vehicle flow through intersections, and reducing the emission of vehicle exhaust that occurs as cars sit idle waiting for traffic lights.

    Of course, people who hate traffic circles are those same people who rarely leave Sonoma County and have little exposure to how successful traffic methods thrive elsewhere.

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  20. Jim Bennett says:

    Cotati City officials had a rough night.
    Deservedly so.
    The successful petition effort along with our presence and serving them all with a misprision of treason notice all sent a message, that was the intention.
    As we did a few months ago in Santa Rosa; the City Mgr., Mayor and council members were served with the documents, they were date stamped by the clerk and the process was video taped for future accountability and to inspire others on Youtube.
    This law has stood for over 200 years. It places legal burden on officials to report a treasonous act to appropriate authority if witness to same.
    Belonging to ICLEI and taking directive from this UN sponsored NGO is treason. Article 1, Section 10 fordids them from having an ‘alliance’ with any groups that are not the US Government. No doubt the verbage and spirit of this Section in the first Article was to prevent what we have now. Interests foreign to our Republic insideously undermining our sovereignty and well being. To use the word alliance to describe the active, accountable relationship that our County and it’s Citie’s have with this globalist NGO would understate the influence that ICLEI effects on our policy, ideology, general plan, budget, planning etc, etc..
    The people recognized the statement that City Hall was sending. It was obvious.
    To hell with what you don’t want.
    To hell with motorists, cyclist, emergency vehicle convenience and safety.
    To hell with the merchants; both their property rights and success.
    To hell with Oliver’s Market investment in the community and the symbionic benefit the community would enjoy.
    To hell with the town’s fiscal health.

    Now on it’s current face value, the serving might mean nothing.
    Or. A lot.
    If we get past this oppressive chapter in our history. Some patriotic officials might be tasked with deciphering exactly how it all went wrong. Afterall we have a framework called the Constitution that safegaurds against this tyranny. That forensic effort (much like unraveling the crash of ’08/Geithner’s subpoena) will uncover these documents. Our officials will not be able to claim ignorance. THAT is our purpose. Misprision of treason has no statute of limitations.
    It includes possible prison time and fines.
    We have explained it, provided documentation, educational material and more.
    The Constitution provides for, in fact places the duty of dissent on us under these very circumstances.
    The biased ommisions in the PD’s story come as no surprize.

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  21. Doug says:

    Being from the East I am well acquainted with “round abouts” aka circles. Back there they are even on highways, I know that may hurt your brain!!! They work great, here not so much. Can’t say why but may have to do with the fact that you all can’t drive?

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  22. Grey Whitmore says:

    Over Easy, you do not know of what you speak.

    The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, a leader in traffic safety and use refutes all of what you say.

    About Safety.

    “A 2001 Institute study of 23 intersections in the United States reported that converting intersections from traffic signals or stop signs to roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 80 percent and all crashes by 40 percent.1 Similar results were reported by Eisenman et al.: a 75 percent decrease in injury crashes and a 37 percent decrease in total crashes.”

    About pollution.

    ” Because roundabouts improve the efficiency of traffic flow, they also reduce vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.

    In one study, installing a roundabout in place of an intersection with signals reduced carbon monoxide emissions by 29 percent and nitrous oxide emissions by 21 percent.11 In another study, replacing traffic signals and stop signs with roundabouts reduced carbon monoxide emissions by 32 percent, nitrous oxide emissions by 34 percent, carbon dioxide emissions by 37 percent, and hydrocarbon emissions by 42 percent.

    Constructing roundabouts in place of traffic signals can reduce fuel consumption by about 30 percent.11,13 At 10 intersections studied in Virginia, this amounted to more than 200,000 gallons of fuel per year.10

    While the initial construction cost of a roundabout varies site by site, its maintenance is cheaper than for intersections with signals. Roundabouts also can enhance aesthetics by providing landscaping opportunities.”

    I think anyone who is going to make blanket statements needs to do simply searches on the internet for data from respected resources.

    I’ve now backed up my statements. What’s yours?


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  23. bear says:

    To the best of my feeble memory, it costs well over $100K to fully signalize an intersection.

    Stop or yield signs might be OK for a low-volume intersection, but folks run through signs all the time – sometimes with dire consequences.

    So if you want to reduce the cost of government, you just may have to learn something new. Including bicyclists.

    Or pay more for the privelege of running red and yellow lights.

    So I think that the caution imposed by traffic circles, combined with lower construction costs AND maintenance, makes them safer and more cost-effective.

    Unless you can’t learn something new.

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  24. Steveguy says:

    Hey Cotatians, or is that Cotatites ?

    Santa Rosa removed ’roundabouts’ along Humboldt Street mostly due to safety issues. The other reason was that they were a crazy idea to begin with.

    And your ‘powers that be’ claim that roundabouts are safer. Oh my

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  25. Over Easy says:

    Yeah Cotati!

    I hope this sends a message to all of the Jr. city planners who are pushing these ridiculously stupid ideas on the general public. They sell it as a good idea that reduces traffic and improves safety.

    Traffic circles have one purpose, and one purpose only, to discourage traffic.

    They are statistically more dangerous, cause more pollution, increase traffic, and cost more to maintain (replacing the signs hit by drivers).

    Pedestrians and bicyclists get hit regularly as drivers are scanning to see if the person coming in the opposite direct is going to circle or go through. Just ask the citizens of Petaluma who have endured 3 of these nightmares. DUMB DUMB!

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