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North Coast’s ‘Great Redwood Trail’ wins approval in California Senate, but lacks funding

Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Imagine a 300-mile trail from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay taking hikers, bicycle and horseback riders through a stunning North Coast river canyon and old growth redwood forests.

It would cost untold millions of dollars and won’t come soon, but the idea for what’s called the Great Redwood Trail is embodied in state Sen. Mike McGuire’s bill, which would also abolish a debt-ridden public agency and put commuter train operator Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit in charge of railroad freight service in its two counties.

The buzz is all about a trail along railroad tracks through some territory most people have never seen and which advocates are likening to the 210-mile John Muir Trail through the Sierra Nevada.

“It’s an amazing prospect,” said Alisha O’Loughlin, executive director of the 1,000-member Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. “Something we’re very enthusiastic about.”

The trail, affording “gorgeous recreational opportunities,” would draw cyclists and equestrians from far and wide, she said.

The coalition’s only concern is that work on the trail not take priority over completion of pathways along the 70-mile SMART corridor in Sonoma and Marin counties. Just 16 miles of pathways have been built to date in segments from Healdsburg to San Rafael.

Read more at http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8406036-181/north-coasts-great-redwood-trail

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Santa Rosa bicycle commuter beaten while riding through homeless camp on Joe Rodota Trail

Martin Espinoza, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A bicycle commuter riding Tuesday along the Joe Rodota Trail was assaulted as he passed through a homeless camp on the popular bike and pedestrian path connecting Santa Rosa to Sebastopol.

Bill Petty, 42, was pedaling home when he said a group of eight to 10 people blocked his path. As he tried to walk his bike through the crowd, he said someone pulled on his shirt, an argument broke out and then a man punched him.

Petty said he suffered fractures just above his left eye and on his nose, which he had treated at the hospital.

“I didn’t even see the punch coming,” said Petty, a Roseland resident who for more than a year had been riding his bike every day to and from work on Auto Row on Corby Avenue.

He said he called out to the group as he approached on his bike but no one moved.

“They’re telling me that I should go around, I said, ‘I can’t go around because there’s tents on both sides of the trail,’” Petty said.

Read more at http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8337445-181/santa-rosa-bicycle-commuter-beaten

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How to build a bike lane network in four years

Michael Anderson, STREETSBLOG USA

Here’s one way to understand the story of biking in Sevilla, Spain: It went from having about as much biking as Oklahoma City to having about as much biking as Portland, Oregon.

It did this over the course of four years.

Speaking last week at the PlacesForBikes conference, one of the masterminds of that transition — which is only now becoming widely known in the United States — filled in some of the gaps in that story.

Manuel Calvo had spent years in Sevilla bicycling activism and was working as a sustainability consultant when he landed the contract to plan a protected bike lane network for his city. The result was the Plan de la Bicicleta de Sevilla, mapping the fully connected protected bike lane network that would make Sevilla’s success possible.

But as Calvo explained in his keynote Wednesday and an interview afterward, the story might not have played out that way.

Here are some things for U.S. bike believers to learn from Calvo’s account:

1) Driving had been rising sharply in Sevilla for years before 2007

2) Politicians’ support for a major biking investment came from a single poll

3) The network was built so fast because leaders saw a chance to deliver it within a single election cycle

4) Sevilla created its network by repurposing 5,000 on-street parking spaces

5) Bike lane designs were shaped by public input – but only after officials made clear that doing nothing was not an option

6) Once the network was built, its benefits were obvious

Read the complete article at https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/05/07/six-secrets-from-the-planner-of-sevillas-lightning-bike-network/#new_tab

Posted on Categories TransportationTags

The ride stuff

Alex T. Randolph, NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN

After years of planning, Sonoma County Regional Parks has just come one step closer to starting work on a proposed 15-mile bike trail that would connect the cities of Petaluma and Sebastopol.

Sonoma County Regional Parks presented the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors with an extensive feasibility study on Feb. 6. The purpose of the study was to determine the safest and most feasible route for a currently unnamed pedestrian and bike trail between the two cities, and also to consider routes to connect unincorporated areas of Sonoma County. The board accepted the findings and recommendations of the study on Feb. 13, allowing Regional Parks to receive final reimbursement and meet obligations of the grant used to pay for the study.

According to a summary of the study, the ideal route for the paved trail is the corridor next to Highway 12 and Stony Point Road. However, according to Fifth District Supervisor Linda Hopkins, there is some debate between those who want the trail to follow the highway and others who want it elsewhere.

Read more at https://www.bohemian.com/northbay/the-ride-stuff/Content?oid=5317498

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New Santa Rosa bike rentals, advocates, encourage visitors to skip the car

Melody Karpinski, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Buying a car used to be a hallmark of adulthood. Yet today, the renaissance of two-wheel transportation is surging. Reducing environmental impact is not the only driving force –– instead it’s a trend mixed with a desire to return to the outdoors and create sustainable community within urban environments.

Nearly 40 percent of all bike trips in the U.S. are less than 2 miles, and the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 62 percent between 2000 and 2013, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

“People want to live near where they work and they don’t need a car to do much of their daily commuting,” said Eric Anderson, a long-time developer and Santa Rosa resident. “The growing trend of ‘urban’ cycling is really related to the growing trend and shifting demography of how and where people live.”

Anderson is one of the key developers in the newly opened Astro Motel on Santa Rosa Avenue, which caters to cyclists. Guests can rent bikes from the hotel, have existing bikes fixed at the motel’s in-house bike shop, or even have them shipped ahead and assembled in their rooms when they arrive.

Read more at: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/lifestyle/outdoors/7864448-181/new-santa-rosa-bike-rentals

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13-mile Sonoma Valley Trail to allow Santa Rosa-to-Sonoma cycling

Christian Kallen, SONOMA INDEX-TRIBUNE

Eventually, upon the trail’s completion, the 8-foot-wide paved trail, with 2-foot gravel shoulders, is designed to provide two-way bike traffic with room for pedestrians along a trans-Valley route parallel to Highway 12.

The 13-mile, $24 million Sonoma Valley Trail moved a half-million dollars and a half mile closer to reality recently, as the Board of Supervisors approved a construction contract for a portion of the proposed bicycle path in the Agua Caliente area.

The funding was approved for the Central Sonoma Valley Trail, a portion of the more comprehensive Sonoma Valley Trail, roughly from Agua Caliente Road to Maxwell Farms. It is designed to connect the Sonoma Valley Trail with the City of Sonoma’s Bike Path.

The board voted to award G.D. Nielson Construction a total of $468,832 to build .42 miles of trail, in two segments. The first is just over a tenth of a mile, from the Larson Park trail north through Flowery Elementary, to connect at Depot Road with the existing trial. As of Monday, July 24, crews were at work on this section of the path.

The second .31 mile section starts at Main Street – that little spur off Sonoma Highway at the McDonald’s restaurant – and continues west on the north side of Verano Avenue to Sonoma Creek, on the edge of Maxwell Farms Regional Park. This section of trail is primarily designed to provide access to Sonoma Creek, as it does not advance the overall direction of the Sonoma Valley Trail toward the city’s bike path.

Read more at: 13-mile Sonoma Valley Trail to allow Santa Rosa-to-Sonoma cycling | Sonoma Index-Tribune | Sonoma, CA

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SMART advances path segments along tracks in Sonoma County 

Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Segments of a bike and pedestrian path designed to skirt North Bay railroad tracks where occupied passenger trains are soon slated to run inched closer to reality under funding proposals advanced Wednesday.

One of the segments, a 1.2-mile path running along railroad tracks over the Petaluma River and under Highway 101 between Payran Street and Southpoint Boulevard in Petaluma, is now fully-funded, with construction plans in the works.

The other segment reviewed Wednesday would extend from Golf Course Drive in Rohnert Park to Todd Road south of Santa Rosa.

The timetable for the start of SMART’s passenger service, meanwhile, remains unclear.

Read more at: SMART advances path segments along tracks in Sonoma County | The Press Democrat

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Petaluma Boulevard South road diet fully funded

Crissy Pascual and Matt Brown, PETALUMA ARGUS-COURIER

Petaluma is in line to receive an infusion of regional transportation funding, which could help complete projects including a narrowing of Petaluma Boulevard South and a bike path along the SMART train tracks.

The $3.5 million for Petaluma is part of a $26 million countywide funding package announced by the Sonoma County Transportation Authority last week. Most of the funding comes from federal gas tax, though the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s One Bay Area Grant, vehicle license fees and state sales tax.

The road diet will extend work already completed on Petaluma Boulevard. The road has been narrowed from Lakeville Street to E Street. With the new funding, Petaluma Boulevard South will go from four to two lanes from E Street to the round about at Crystal Lane in the Quarry Heights development.

Petaluma’s Deputy Director of Public Works Larry Zimmer said that the project is fully approved and fully funded. The money is expected in the 2018 funding cycle and construction is expected to begin in 2019 and take about one year to complete.

“We got the complete ask,” he said. “It’s wonderful. The great thing about getting the full construction money is now we can do the full project.”

Read more at: Petaluma Boulevard South road diet funded | Petaluma Argus Courier | Petaluma360.com

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New Oakmont bike-pedestrian trail may solve long-simmering access dispute

Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A new path nearing completion in Oakmont will soon link the retirement community in east Santa Rosa to Trione-Annadel State Park, and in the process may help solve a long-simmering access dispute.

The 400-foot-long gravel trail is designed to allow bicycle riders and pedestrians to skirt a piece of private property over which the city once held an easement frequently used by the public.

The new path runs parallel to that driveway, links up with city property once used as a wastewater treatment plant and creates a continuous link between Stone Bridge Drive and Channel Drive on the northern side of Annadel.

“We’ve totally bypassed the private property with this path,” said Ken Wells, executive director of the Sonoma Trails Council, which is building the trail with 36 yards of gravel and a lot of volunteer labor from Oakmont residents.

The trail should open as soon as the area has five solid days of warm weather to help the material set, Wells said.

If the city designates a recreational trail across its property – which it is expected to do later this month – the city property and the Oakmont trail together could create a public trail that will not only allow Oakmont residents to access the park but help cyclists stay off busy Highway 12.

“It’s really a good example of the city working with a community group to come up with a creative solution,” said Mayor Chris Coursey, who rode past the path on his bike Thursday afternoon.

Read more at: New Oakmont trail may solve long-simmering access dispute | The Press Democrat

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Santa Rosa settles 6-year-old case over Wild Oak bicycle access

Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The “No Bicyclists” signs remain up and residents of the neighborhood will do their best to enforce their property rights, perhaps by calling police on bicyclists or hiring private security…

More than six years after Santa Rosa tried to force a gated community to let bicyclists roll through its leafy neighborhood, the city has thrown in the towel with little to show for it but big legal bills and embarrassment.

The city announced Thursday it had settled its lawsuit against the Villages at Wild Oak homeowners association after agreeing to drop its appeals and pay most of the association’s attorney’s fees.

Read more at: Santa Rosa settles 6-year-old case over Wild Oak access | The Press Democrat