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Santa Rosa upbeat on finding millions of dollars for long-planned footbridge

Will Schmitt, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Santa Rosa has yet to secure the millions of dollars needed to build a long-planned bridge for cyclists and pedestrians to cross Highway 101, but that’s not stopping city officials and consultants from pressing ahead with design and location plans for a span they hope to start building in less than two years.

The bridge is touted by the city and its supporters as a necessary connector that will facilitate safer nonautomotive access over the freeway near its high-traffic interchanges at College Avenue and Steele Lane. They serve Coddingtown Mall, the nearby Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit station, Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa High School and nearby neighborhoods.

Beyond figuring out how to drum up the estimated $11 million to $13 million needed to build the crossing, Santa Rosa will need to determine whether they want a light, airy design that preserves views for highway motorists — or a more imposing and unique bridge that becomes a new city landmark.

“What’s really great is that this is an amazing opportunity to right some of the planning wrongs” of the past, Adam Sharron, a landscape architect and member of the city’s Design Review Board, said at Thursday’s meeting. Cost permitting, he added, the city’s new crossing could be a statement piece “that is made to be a design, rather than utilitarian bridge.”

The city has a lot of work ahead before it can realize that vision. Initial designs conceived by city staff and consultants called for a bridge that would blend into highway surroundings and preserve far-reaching views for northbound drivers. The City Council is not expected to consider the project until early 2020, said Jason Nutt, the city’s director of transportation and public works.

The bridge has been in the works for more than a decade, and city documents show work slated to begin in January 2021 and finish in July 2022. The city has been able to find money to study potential bridge designs, but “we don’t have funding secured for construction,” Christopher Catbagan, a city engineer, said Thursday.

Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9505687-181/santa-rosa-upbeat-on-finding

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Bicyclists ride to promote safety through Santa Rosa streets

Bill Swindell, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Cycling activists also want more money put toward dedicated pedestrian and bicycling paths in Sonoma County to make them safer, whether for commuters to work or athletes breaking a sweat.

After another dangerous year on local roads, a group of bicyclists pedaled through central Santa Rosa on Wednesday night to raise awareness for greater safety along public streets and roadways.

A small group bicycled a 2-mile route around downtown and the Cherry Street Historic District to commemorate those killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. The silent and somber ride was sponsored by the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition and was part of national event conducted annually in other cities across the country on the third Wednesday of May.

“Every year, we lose a few people,” said Eris Weaver, the coalition’s outreach and events coordinator. “It’s part of our mission. How do we make Sonoma County a safe place to bike?”

Read more at http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8334357-181/bicyclists-ride-to-promote-safety

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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