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New Coddingtown store called possible obstacle to bike-pedestrian bridge

By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Several community groups are worried that a planned Dick’s Sporting Goods near Coddingtown Mall may make it harder to build a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101.

An alliance calling itself the Community Connector Bridge Advocacy Group says the city’s Design Review Board failed to take into consideration plans for the bridge when it granted approval of the Cleveland Avenue retail development earlier this month.

The group last week filed an appeal of the board’s decision, meaning the issue will have to be decided by the City Council in the coming weeks.

A model of the proposed bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101

A model of the proposed bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101

The project is located in an area that is considered the best location for the western landing of the span, said Dennis Rosatti, executive director of Sonoma County Conservation Action, the county’s largest environmental advocacy group.

The groups appealing, including the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition and Friends of SMART, are worried that once the retail development is built, developer Codding Enterprises and its new tenants will try to block a bridge that has been on the drawing board for years.

“We want to make sure that they are aware, and that it’s written down somewhere that they acknowledge that they are aware, that the bridge is coming,” Rosatti said.

Officials at Codding Enterprises say they are supportive of the bridge in theory, but don’t know enough about its design or location to take a position on it.

“We can’t just give a blanket endorsement on it because we really don’t know how it affects us,” said Kirstie Moore, the firm’s development and property manager.

If the bridge design would block motorists’ views of the store from the highway, that could pose a problem, Moore said.

“That site was chosen by Dick’s Sporting Goods for visibility from Highway 101, for sure,” Moore said. “Visibility would be a concern.”

The appeal is the latest effort to keep alive a controversial plan for a curvaceous span over Highway 101 linking the Santa Rosa Junior College neighborhood to Coddingtown Mall and a future Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit station.

Several council members have expressed concern about the costs of the studies, which have run approximately $800,000 to date, and the bridge itself, which has been estimated at between $14 million and $20 million.

Supporters, who call the span a “community connector bridge,” view it as an east-west link vital for a city divided by Highway 101. Critics, who tend to refer to it as a “bike bridge,” view it as an extravagance catering to a narrow interest group.

The latest iteration of the project envisions a 15-foot-wide span from Elliott Avenue on the east side of Highway 101 to Edwards Avenue on the west, precisely where Dick’s is being proposed.

Rosatti and others tried to get the Design Review Board to consider how the development might affect the future bridge. But city staff told board members the bridge plans weren’t firm enough to require the developer to change its plans to accommodate it.

“We just don’t have a specific enough design that would allow us to attach development conditions,” said city planner Bill Rose, echoing guidance he gave to the board.

The city has been working for more than a year to get the state Department of Transportation to sign off on the bridge. But the precise design and layout won’t be determined until after community meetings and negotiations with property owners.

(You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @citybeater.)





21 Responses to “New Coddingtown store called possible obstacle to bike-pedestrian bridge”

  1. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    Just to be clear, I suggest that it should be a business decision. Like Mockingbird’s example.
    Ed Stack can make up his own mind about the matter.

  2. Robert says:

    Dan suggests Dick’s CEO redistribute his wealth for projects to benefit the masses. That is becoming the entitlement mantra of Sonoma County. Take from the “haves” and give it to the “won’t works/earn”, I mean “don’t haves”.

    I don’t care how much the guy makes. I tis his money and none of anyone elses business. The bridge is another overpriced feel good project. Just go up the block for goodness sake.

  3. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Dick’s should be gungho about this project. Afterall, all those bike riders, skateboarders, runners going right past his store. The business should be phenomenal from these very same people.

  4. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    Maybe Dick’s will step up and offer to contribute a few million to the project in exchange for freeway advertising rights. After all, they do sell bicycles and walking shoes. Sounds like an opportunity to me.

    Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO, Ed Stack, could afford to pay for the whole project himself.
    *While Stack’s compensation dipped to about $10.7 million in 2012 from $10.9 million in 2011, he gained $137 million exercising previously awarded stock options and another $1.7 million from vested shares, according to the chain’s latest proxy filing.
    The combined pay and gains from options and vested shares vaults Stack into select company. Among sitting CEOs, only Starbucks’ Howard Schultz gained more in 2012.
    * http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/04/23/dicks-sporting-goods-stack/2106429/

  5. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    I think people forget that this bridge isn’t just for bikes. It should be called the bike and PEDESTRIAN bridge. Runners will use it. People can walk to shop west of the Freeway and walk over to attend the JC or highschool.

  6. Jorge Soto says:

    Why the fuss, it was already voted down…OH THATS RIGHT…They don’t care. It is in the LONG TERM BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN MASTER PLAN…which rules our ;lives.

    Agenda 21 ; read the book ‘the Ideal Communist City” and you will get these crazy peopes playbook.

    NO is NO..but i guess not anymore

  7. Big jim says:

    I ride my bike almost every day and often cross the 101 by taking the Steele lane under-crossing. The crossing is dangerous as cars are rushing to beat the lights and don’t account for bicycles. However, I do not support spending this amount of money on a bridge. The level of potholes and subsidance of the edge of roads poses a far greater hazard to me that the undercrossing. Fix the roads, stop wasting money we don’t have on this boondoggle bridge.

  8. RICHARD says:

    The following was sent to Santa Rosa City:

    ” We had no self-control,” said MTC’s Steve Heminger.”We put politics over public safety, and it was very bad behavior.”
    Then came the demand from area politicians that they wanted … iconic span …
    “Engineering should come first, and then design,” said DeSaulnier, D-Concord.”” – sfgate

    Santa Rosa City officials also seek an iconic span … significant cost savings are possible but when has Santa Rosa ever listen to an engineer.

  9. Larry Watkins says:

    Another boondoggle. Another ugly bridge which is not needed or wanted by the majority of taxpaying citizens of Santa Rosa. A little special interest group with a cause wants a bridge so millions are spent just to make them happy.

    Buy them shuttle buses if they want to cross 101, it would be cheaper and the buses would be empty, just as the proposed bridge would be if ever built.

  10. Rick says:

    Didn’t tax payers already spend millions building pedestrians and bike riders underpasses at College Ave and Steele Ln???

    I hanvent seen a single care wash, bake sale or BBQ fundraiser for this project. They better get busy.

  11. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    I’m sure the $20 million price tag will be paid out of the money collected from bicycle-plate licensing, like automobiles.

    Oh wait, there are no license plates on bicycles. Must be another one of those ‘we-gotta-have-but-someone-else-has-to-pay’ projects so common in Sonoma County and California.

    Can anyone actually say ‘$20 million for a pedestrian bridge’ and keep a straight face?

  12. Steveguy says:

    I over-post on this subject every time. Please excuse my 1st hand knowledge.

    Are they planning on Junior College students getting off the DUMB Train and cycling happily to school on their own special bikeway ?

    As a long time urban Santa Rosa biker, ( the guy with jeans, plaid shirt, backpack, I did get the ‘looks’ of others over my seemingly working/homeless attire. All my tools and materials were on one job that was lengthy.

    I do prefer and use the ” wrong side” of the Steele Lane/ Guerneville Road overpass, as it is safer, even in the 80′s.

    All of this to ‘save’ only 3 minutes of a bike ride ? Get over yourselves and ride you bike.

    OK, when sons lived in Kenwood I would sometimes ride my bike there and take the bus back with my bike. Lower Windsor to Kenwood.

    As a normal ride the bike guy, that thing is useless !! If you are going to Safeway Mendo you don’t take the bridge !

    It does NOTHING for cyclists except for the Utopian happy Starbuck’s drinking College students that will amount to a few dozen a day. Living in their SMART apartments in Rodent Park. Yeah

  13. Emerson Burkett says:

    How about the Bicycle Coalition Folks and other interested parties pay for this UNNECESSARY BRIDGE out of BICYCLE LICENSE FEES, rather than OUR Hard Earned Tax Dollars? Sounds like a win win to me. You want it so much; put up or shut up!

  14. Steveguy says:

    Yes James, exactly. This is but a scheme to garner grants for a feel good idea, not practical, just Utopian. ” Look what we did”

    They installed a big hump in front of my old abode on Humboldt a few doors from Bill’s Market due to the lunatics that wanted to ‘make a difference’. That hump is about 150 feet from the stop sign at McConnell. Useless spot for a hump, and all it does is eject exhaust in my old front yard.

    I rode my bike all over to run errands and NEVER used Humboldt as a bike boulevard, and both of my sons never did either.

    That was a TOTAL waste of money, with results that are worse than leaving well enough alone !

    I smell money, a snack of $800,000 stinking pile of it with $20 Million as the main course with wolfish drools at the anticipation. If they get it there will be very expensive champagne served, just like the SMART Train boondoggle celebration(s).

    And yes James, I would rather have FISH be funded. I hope they get an even better spot, and I for one am getting quite suspicious of the Food Bank people. They seem to have become government bureaucraps. It just seems that way with their entry into the lunch program and the new store aspect. Is there an odor to $150,000 a year with great perks folks ? You know, the real takers from society.

    Can we audit the Food Bank ?

  15. Sonoma Gone Crazy says:

    I’m sorry, but what is wrong with riding their bike down to Steele Lane and using that underpass? I see plenty of people walking underneath the Freeway to get from one side of Santa Rosa to the other. Same with Railroad Square. Same with College Avenue. Bicentennial is an overpass, no problem there. So is Mendocino.

    And who is stuck paying for this cute expensive bridge when all the roadways are in such dismal shape? Can anyone in this County get their priorities straight? Fix the roadways first BEFORE these nonsensical projects get done and who is paying for this? If it’s taxpayer’s, please give me a choice. My vote is roadways first.

  16. bear says:

    Please understand that our genius government gives money for specific things. So building this overpass is likely the only way we will get funding for this and nothing else.

    Yes, absurd. Use it or lose it. What we need is unrestricted block grants to counties. Then we can debate things.

    But I bet these funds can’t be used to fix any roads that that need fixing.

    The plans seem extravagant, though the intent may be good. Coddingtown has never looked beyond profit in the last 30 years.

    GAK!

  17. James Bennett says:

    Yeah, the “community groups” I belong to are more concerned about the $20. million dollars the bike bridge costs.

    These advocacy groups synthesizing a genuine citizen dialogue.

    Pave the country roads, make sure FISH has a place to feed the hungry from.

    Save the money, we’re ‘gonna need it.

  18. The Hammer says:

    Is the Community Connector Bridge Advocacy Group and the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition and Friends of SMART going to pay for this bridge solely out of their pockets or do they expect the rest of us to pay for it? If I am the one paying, which I sure I am, then I vote for Dick’s and the rest of them can go to H___!

    There’s no reason that a 14 to 20 million dollar brides is needed. Let’s use the funds to fix the roads which are in bad need of repair.

  19. Steveguy says:

    Excuse me, but I have actually ridden the normal route there on a bike countless times back and forth for decades. . My kids rode their bikes through there for many years. So have many others that I know. I have lived near Coddingtown and lived on Humboldt Street for years !

    The spot in front of Denny’s has been decrepit for decades, with no interest in the normal bike and pedestrian flow there. I blame the City, Caltrans AND the bike coalition for that !

    This is the Bay Bridge of the north ! Did SMART say that a bike bridge over the tracks would cost $1.4 million ? Yes as far as I have seen, while this is MANY millions ! This is a ludicrous and scandalous expenditure of public moneys ! It is a ” vanity” project to garner campaign money support !

    Get a clue, follow the money, there is no need, just some weird yearning for a wasted fortune to be spent.

    Steve Mosher

  20. Grapevines says:

    The city has spent $800,000 on just the planning for this stupid idea which is never going to happen anyway?? No wonder the streets are in the disrepair that they are. Where’s the priorities here anyway?

    Where in the world does this pack of two wheeling dreamers think the city is going to come up with 20 million to make this happen?? Vehicle taxes??

    $800,000 to plan a bridge in the sky, $20 million to build a bridge in the sky, stop Dick’s from bringing in tax revenue to the city. Does anyone other than me think somebody at city hall has to pull their heads out of their backside and start doing things that make sense??

    Cuz I sure as heck don’t see that happening here.