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
Staff, NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District, or SMART, received federal environmental clearance on April 6 for a portion of the planned bicycle and pedestrian pathway, stretching from north San Rafael to north Santa Rosa.
The 36-mile portion of the path from the San Rafael Civic Center Station to the Santa Rosa North Station near Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport cleared National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, review.
The Petaluma-based transit agency said this federal green light is one of the most significant environmental approvals to advance bicycle and pedestrian projects in the Bay Area. It also makes the approved portion of the path eligible for federal funding, the train authority said.
Read more at: Construction to start on SMART bike, pedestrian path | North Bay Business Journal
Teri Shore, GREENBELT ALLIANCE
On February 1 at a public hearing in Santa Rosa, a standing room only crowd of about 100 neighbors, advocates, and elected officials came together to speak out in favor of a safe at-grade crossing over the SMART tracks at Jennings Avenue for walkers and bicyclists. No one spoke against the City of Santa Rosa’s application to build the at-grade crossing.
The hearing held at Helen Lehman School was convened by an administrative law judge for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which claims that a super-sized bridge over the railway is the only solution. A final decision won’t be made until later this year, perhaps too late to build the crossing before the SMART commuter service starts running in December.
The CPUC recently blocked off the historic railroad crossing at Jennings, forcing people to walk or bike an extra half mile each way along busy thoroughfares such as Guerneville Road, where “you can reach out and touch cars going by” according to Janet Barocco, a 16-year resident of Jennings Avenue.
Before it was blocked off, as many as 91 people and 25 bicyclists a day typically crossed the tracks here, according to the City of Santa Rosa. Now they must walk another 15 to 30 minutes or get into cars. The CPUC claims that some 170 elementary students who go to school nearby might cross the tracks at Jennings if the at-grade crossing is permitted.
Read more at: Santa Rosa SMART Jennings Avenue Railway Crossing
SONOMA VALLEY SUN
A route has been identified for a proposed 13-mile pedestrian and bicycle trail through the Sonoma Valley. The public is invited to view and comment on the suggested alignment and other findings of a draft feasibility study at an open house planned for 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Kenwood Fire Protection District office, 9045 Sonoma Highway.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors reviewed the study at its Jan. 12 meeting. See the plan.
The review evaluates the potential for a multi-use trail along Highway 12 between Santa Rosa and the Springs: on the west side between Melita Road and Oakmont Drive; along the east side between Oakmont and Arnold Drive in Glen Ellen; and along the west side between Arnold Drive and Agua Caliente Road.
With the exception of a few areas, the Highway 12 corridor lacks sidewalks and bicycle lanes. The proposed trail would improve safety for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians and promote alternative travel to wineries, parks and other Sonoma Valley attractions, planners say.
Read more at: Wheels slowly turning for Sonoma Valley bike trail | Sonoma Sun
Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Cycling advocates say a last-minute agreement hammered out with Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit officials will prioritize a bike and pedestrian path that voters demanded in 2008 when they approved construction of the commuter rail line.
The agreement, brokered by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, calls for establishing a list of higher priority pathway segments and identifying funding sources for those projects.
Cycling advocates had been threatening to sue SMART over a section of pathway planned in San Rafael, a dispute that more generally speaks to concerns the rail agency is failing to meet its obligations to build the promised network. The agreement, for now, appears to have addressed those concerns.
“Overall, this is a very, very positive development. It increases hope that the path will actually be built,” said Gary Helfrich, executive director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition.
Read more at: SMART settlement paves way for bike, pedestrian path | The Press Democrat
Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Work is underway on a small section of a long-awaited bike and pedestrian trail designed to extend along 3½ miles of Bodega Bay coastline, part of it built on an elevated boardwalk at the harbor’s edge.
A crew began last week to clear brush and mark the route of the new half-mile segment toward the northern end of this seaside village, running roughly parallel to Highway 1 between the Bodega Bay Community Center and the entrance road to the state-run Bodega Dunes Campground.
But while a step in the right direction, the estimated $533,000 trail to be laid this fall is just that: a single step in what could still be a prolonged campaign to turn the complete multiuse trail plan into reality, thanks to cost, necessary engineering and environmental hurdles.
Of particular complexity is the milelong boardwalk section designed to skirt the commercial center of town along the harbor tidelands, an environmentally sensitive, seismically demanding stretch of land that also raises residential privacy and commercial right-of-way concerns, Sonoma County Regional Parks personnel said.
That phase, estimated to cost about $2.4 million for construction alone, “is at least 10 years out, because there’s no funding right now,” senior park planner Mark Cleveland said.
Read more via Another small step in Bodega Bay trail | The Press Democrat.
Gary Helfrich and Janis Watkins
Quietly, without fanfare or fireworks, a land-use issue was resolved this past month in Santa Rosa.
You probably didn’t hear about it because it didn’t involve protests or lawsuits or contentious hearings before the City Council. It was settled with reasonable discussions among sensible adults looking to find a solution that would work for both sides and, more importantly, for all residents of Santa Rosa.
We want to share that good news.
At issue is the community connector bridge across Highway 101, a project that has been planned for several years to provide a safe way for people to cross the freeway without using their cars. The bridge would create a new connection between Santa Rosa’s east and west sides, between Santa Rosa Junior College and Coddingtown, between northeast Santa Rosa and the SMART train station in the northwest on Guerneville Road.
via Close to Home: Building bridges in Santa Rosa | The Press Democrat.