Posted on Categories Local Organizations, TransportationTags , Leave a comment on Bike riders pitch in to fill potholes

Bike riders pitch in to fill potholes

Matt Brown, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

When organizers of Levi’s GranFondo wanted to bring the mass-participation bike ride to Sonoma County five years ago, they surveyed some of the rural west county roads and knew they had a problem.

The pavement on the proposed route was so potholed in places that it posed a safety risk to riders.

Organizers could have bailed on Sonoma County, but the ride’s founder, former professional cyclist Levi Leipheimer, is from Santa Rosa and has sought to promote the county as a cycling destination.

They could have asked the county to fix the byways on the route, but the Public Works Department has consistently come up short on such requests, upgrading only a small fraction of its 1,382-mile network each year. The repair backlog over the entire network is more than $920 million, according to the latest estimate.

Instead, after getting county permission, organizers hired their own contractor to fill in potholes. In the process, they forged a unique partnership with the county — a private organization stepping up to maintain public infrastructure.

“Sitting around tapping our feet waiting for the county doesn’t get potholes paved,” said Greg Fisher, marketing director for Bike Monkey, the group that runs the GranFondo. “We’re addressing safety issues so that we aren’t banging bike rims or car rims. We all use these roads.”

via Bike riders pitch in to fill potholes | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Forests, TransportationTags , , Leave a comment on Rare redwood faces chopping block in Cotati

Rare redwood faces chopping block in Cotati

Lori A. Carter, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Standing inconspicuously beside a block wall across the street from a glass shop in Cotati is one of the rarest living life forms in the world, an albino chimera coast redwood tree.

Researchers say fewer than 10 of the genetically mutated trees are known to exist.

But if SMART’s rail plans proceed, the tree — the largest of its kind — soon will be cut down so commuter trains can safely zoom past.

“This tree is irreplaceable,” said Tom Stapleton, a former Sonoma County arborist who is now based in Amador County and studies the rare mutations. “They need to do something more than just cut it down.”

via Rare redwood faces chopping block in Cotati | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Climate Change & Energy, TransportationTags ,

Temporary ban on Petaluma gas stations fails

Lori A. Carter, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Petaluma City Council on Monday night rejected a proposed moratorium on gas stations that would have prohibited Safeway from building a fueling station in front of its North McDowell Boulevard store.

A temporary urgency ordinance – commonly called a moratorium – would have required the approval of six of seven council members.

As council members began discussing the issue, it soon became clear that Councilman Mike Healy, who sought the moratorium, wouldn’t even get a majority on his side. In a straw vote, only Healy, Gabe Kearney and Kathy Miller supported a 45-day ban to buy the council time to craft tighter regulations on gas stations.

“We should just follow the process we already have in place,” said Councilman Mike Harris, saying businesses should be able to rely on existing rules when they “make investments in our community.”

Councilwoman Teresa Barrett was conflicted in her vote. She said she opposes the gas station project on whole, but doesn’t support blanket bans.

Read more at: https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/1857348-181/temporary-ban-on-petaluma-gas

Posted on Categories Transportation, WildlifeTags Leave a comment on Sonoma County wetlands area damaged by Highway 101 contractor

Sonoma County wetlands area damaged by Highway 101 contractor

Matt Brown, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A Caltrans contractor likely filled in a wetland without the proper permits during construction work along Highway 101 south of Petaluma, Sonoma County officials said, an action that could trigger state and federal fines or efforts to restore the damaged environment.

The apparent violation — stemming from activity that began in late 2012 — has put a much-needed stockpile of construction materials essentially on hold pending environmental study, and could delay or drive up costs on a pair of Highway 101 widening projects totalling $87 million, according to the contractor, Ghilotti Bros.

via Sonoma County: Wetlands area damaged by Highway 101 contractor | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Sustainable Living, TransportationTags Leave a comment on Push for Sonoma to Santa Rosa bike path

Push for Sonoma to Santa Rosa bike path

James Knight, NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN

If a proposed trail linking Santa Rosa with Sonoma is completed, bicyclists and pedestrians will be able to travel through the scenic Valley of the Moon at a safe distance from automobile traffic on Highway 12. But don’t clip in those shoes too readily—it’s a long and winding road from plan to reality. And as yet, there’s no plan.

via Push for Sonoma to Santa Rosa Bike Path | News | North Bay Bohemian.

Posted on Categories Climate Change & Energy, Sonoma Coast, TransportationTags Leave a comment on Electric vehicles to get a coastal charge

Electric vehicles to get a coastal charge

Matt Brown, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Richard Sachen enjoys driving his electric Nissan Leaf from his home in Petaluma to the coast. The tech entrepreneur used to worry about having enough juice to make it home.

Not any more. Sachen recently installed an electric vehicle charger at Point Reyes Station to eliminate so-called “range anxiety.”

Sunspeed Enterprises, the company Sachen founded in 2012, is developing a network of fast charging stations up and down the coast from Eureka to Malibu. Sachen calls it the “Pacific Coast Sun Trail.”

EV advocates say the new network will fill an overlooked niche by adding charging infrastructure in rural areas that attract tourists while other companies have focused on installing charging stations in urban centers and along major highways.

via Sunspeed Enterprises, Point Reyes, Richard Sachen, Eureka, Malibu, Greenlots, electric vehicles | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Sustainable Living, TransportationTags , Leave a comment on Santa Rosa completes key link in creek trail

Santa Rosa completes key link in creek trail

Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A short but important new bicycle and pedestrian path opened last week in eastern Santa Rosa, promising to make it easier for people to travel east-west without using Highway 12.

The new 1,000-foot trail connects two existing path fragments to create a continuous route along Santa Rosa Creek from Mission Boulevard to the Streamside neighborhood.

“It’s a nice path and a key link,” said Colleen Ferguson, deputy director of public works.

via Santa Rosa completes key link in creek trail | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories TransportationTags , Leave a comment on Close to Home: Building bridges in Santa Rosa

Close to Home: Building bridges in Santa Rosa

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.

Posted on Categories TransportationTags Leave a comment on Rodota trail to be rerouted despite cyclists' objections

Rodota trail to be rerouted despite cyclists' objections

Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A plan to reroute a popular bicycle trail around a proposed gas station and market on the western edge of Santa Rosa was criticized as not doing enough to protect bicyclists but was approved anyway Thursday by the city’s Planning Commission.

In a 5-1 vote, the commission signed off on plans to build the station, market and one-bedroom apartment along the Joe Rodota Trail at North Wright Road just south of the Fulton Road and Highway 12 intersection.

Most commissioners felt the developer had found a creative solution to the problem of possible conflicts with bicyclists by diverting them behind the station along an easement on the property.

But some bicycle advocates and Commissioner Vicki Duggan felt the project wasn’t doing enough to protect bicyclists along what is already a problematic portion of the trail linking Santa Rosa to Sebastopol.

via Santa Rosa gas station gets OK despite cyclists' objections | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories TransportationTags , , Leave a comment on Pressure mounts on County to dump Veolia as operator of Sonoma County Transit

Pressure mounts on County to dump Veolia as operator of Sonoma County Transit

Alastair Bland, NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN

Pressure is growing in communities around the world against Veolia Transdev, the worldwide industrial solutions firm based in France, clouded in political and environmental controversy and currently the operator of Sonoma County’s public bus line.

But the 25-year contract that gives the France-based giant several million dollars each year to operate the Sonoma County Transit bus fleet will come to an end in mid-2014, and local activists aligned against the company due to its support of Israel’s presence in Palestine want the county to part ways with Veolia.

via Bus Stop | News | North Bay Bohemian.