Will Schmitt, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Santa Rosa is looking to revamp a stretch of Stony Point Road bisected by Highway 12 in a bid to provide more protection for cyclists, a move that would follow a string of deaths that underscored the area’s status as one of the most treacherous in the city for cyclists and pedestrians.
A package of new bike paths, pedestrian crossings, curb expansions and lane adjustments is in the cards for Stony Point Road from Occidental Road to the Joe Rodota Trail — the heart of a half-mile highly trafficked stretch between West Third Street and Sebastopol Road that includes two highway on-ramps and two exits.
The area has been highly dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. In one seven-week span of 2018, three people on foot or bike were fatally struck along Stony Point Road near Highway 12.
They included Sidney Falbo, a 20-year-old Santa Rosa Junior College student on her way to class. On Thursday, cyclist Wayne Morris trained his camera on a memorial to Falbo that sits close to where she was struck and killed by a truck, at the point were the Joe Rodota Trail crosses six lanes of Stony Point Road.
Morris, 82, said that cycling at his age is a great way to keep his legs in shape. But while taking the trail from Sebastopol to Santa Rosa five weeks ago, he was badly shaken up when he was struck in the Stony Point crosswalk.
“I was waiting to cross on the light. It changed, I got up on the pedal to go across and bang, this lady hit me,” Morris said. “I hit the ground and cracked some ribs and my clavicle.”
The dangers of that stretch of road are called out in Santa Rosa’s latest bicycle and pedestrian safety master plan, adopted in early 2019. It’s one of only three traffic corridors in the city labeled as a “high-injury network” for both those on foot and bike.