Healdsburg is moving ahead with a traffic roundabout at a key intersection, but without the opposition the circular intersections have engendered in some towns.
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.
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 elimination of redevelopment agencies has put in doubt Cotati’s ambitious — and controversial — plan to revive its downtown, even as the city remains on the hook for more than $500,000 for design and planning work on the project. The Old Redwood Highway redesign project was to rely on about $2.5 million in redevelopment funds for much of its costs. Now, the redevelopment agency’s remaining money — about $2 million — will be allocated by a seven-person oversight board to be formed in May.
Another ballot-box battle may be on Cotati’s horizon in the wake of the City Council’s unanimous approval of a $3.5 million plan to narrow the city’s main street and install two traffic roundabouts instead of stoplights. Opponents of the plan had promised, even before the council vote shortly after midnight Wednesday, they would mount a drive for a referendum to bar roundabouts anywhere in the city.
Opponents of a plan to remake Cotati’s downtown into a narrower street that includes roundabouts have told city officials they will pursue a ballot initiative unless they change course. The initiative would bar the city from building roundabouts anywhere within its limits. Its backers want the city to adhere to a concept it previously outlined, a four-lane street controlled by traffic lights.
A controversial $3.5 million plan to narrow Old Redwood Highway to two lanes with two roundabouts is headed to the Cotati City Council. The redesign, approved unanimously by the city’s planning commission, was proposed by city staff as part of a long-sought overhaul of the city’s commercial center. It was opposed by Oliver’s Markets and other downtown merchants who say the plan would hurt their businesses by constricting traffic.
Cotati residents packed City Hall on Tuesday to weigh in on proposals to transform the city’s downtown and revitalize its economy. The issue, which had become the latest controversy in a community that has seen its share, produced a three-hour, considered conversation.