An ambitious transit-oriented planning model for Petaluma’s downtown and river area will return to the City Council with modifications after concerns were raised on several fronts late Monday night.
Santa Rosa City Hall has shown an unfortunate propensity for missteps when it comes to downtown parking. Over the years, the litany of common complaints include overzealous enforcement, high fees and costly fines, parking meters that don’t work, dark and dingy garages and yes, inconvenient pay stations.
Santa Rosa is moving forward with a plan to rip out dozens of relatively new downtown parking stations that merchants said were baffling to their customers and bad for business.
Cotati officials who in 2011 happily settled on a controversial $3.5 million redesign of the downtown have altered their course following a ballot initiative that banned roundabouts from the city.
Healdsburg doesn’t see a ‘psychic palm and card reading’ business in its future. The Planning Commission on a 6-0 vote Tuesday night rejected an application by self-described psychic Mike Stevens to set up shop in a former insurance office downtown, just 1½ blocks north of the Plaza.
A major Petaluma road project, already behind schedule, will now be broken into two phases so downtown merchants can make the most of holiday sales.
The city is overhauling Petaluma Boulevard from East Washington Street through the heart of the downtown shopping district, similar to the change that was completed farther north on the street in 2008.
The so-called ‘road diet’ will reduce the number of lanes on the street, but widen them and add a two-way turn lane in the middle. The change is meant to modernize the lane widths and create a safer environment for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.
Santa Rosa’s downtown parking district has seen a surge in new permit revenue since the downtown mall announced plans to eliminate the last significant supply of free parking in the city center.
Permits for the city lots and garages closest to the Santa Rosa Plaza have seen the sharpest increase, a sign that downtown employees who parked in the mall for free have begrudgingly gravitated to city parking facilities.
City services most Santa Rosa residents take for granted — from litter removal downtown to attracting new businesses — could soon cease unless new ways to fund them are found. That grim picture was outlined for the Santa Rosa City Council during a briefing Tuesday that addressed how the loss of redevelopment will affect the city’s downtown program, economic development efforts and services to poorer neighborhoods.
Santa Rosa is installing five new surveillance cameras downtown as part of an effort to protect the nation’s “critical infrastructure.” But officials refuse to discuss just exactly what they are protecting downtown, citing a need for secrecy not often cited by local officials — national security.