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The bumpy lanes of Keiser Avenue in Rohnert Park are hemmed in by weeds, bushes and blackberry bushes in some sections. It's Sonoma County's worst road, based on Road Warrior reader votes. Road Warrior photo

It’s only a mile long, but it’s narrow, cracked, sections of its sides are dropping away and it’s riddled with pothole patches with more potholes unfilled.

It’s Keiser Avenue in Rohnert Park, and it’s the worst road in Sonoma County, according to readers who voted in the Road Warrior’s Third Annual Worst Road Contest.

A total of 82 roads were singled out by readers as their worst, and although Keiser “won” this year, a drive around the county, particularly in rural areas, will discover many roads that are as bad or perhaps even worse.

“I swear I’ve had parts fall off my car, there is so much shaking from the deep potholes,” a reader by the name of Heather wrote in. “They continue to patch it regularly as if it will actually make a difference.”

Pothole patching is all Keiser Avenue is going to get for now, says Pat Barnes, Rohnert Park’s deputy city engineer.

He says the city estimates it would cost $2.6 million to totally rebuild Keiser, which runs from Snyder Lane east to Petaluma Hill Road, and that won’t happen until a developer at some future point begins a project along the road and takes on that reconstruction cost. Another option is for the city to tap an improvement fund financed by developers’ fees, but Barnes says that likely only would happen if the fund grows to a point of having extra cash.

From strictly a pavement condition rating, Barnes says Keiser isn’t the city’s worst road. There are a couple of others rated lower.

But, he says, “I can see how others think it’s the worst” because of the bumpy pavement, narrow lanes and ditches alongside. “It is the bumpiest road in Rohnert Park.”

He says Rohnert Park took over Keiser from the county in 2007 as part of an annexation and is doing its best at maintenance and monitoring it for potholes.

Cindy Senk, a co-owner of Senk Farms on the road, gives credit to the city roads crews.

“The city of Rohnert Park is very good in coming out” to fill potholes, she said, noting a phone call brings a quick response. But there’s not much a road crew can do than fill potholes — the road “is so far gone.”

The south side of Keiser is mostly fields; on the north side are six small homes and fields. Weeds, brush and blackberry bushes over the years have narrowed the road so that on some sections it’s not really wide enough for two cars to pass, let alone something like two pickups.

Reader CJ writes, “The only way to drive is down the middle. You play chicken with oncoming traffic.”

Senk, who voted for Keiser as the worst road, said the road is a frequent topic of discussion among customers at her farm, and some have come in with flat tires after hitting potholes. Her sister spent $1,100 to fix her BMV after it was damaged by a pothole, she said.

She said Keiser is particularly busy in the afternoon, at 3 when nearby Lawrence E. Jones Middle School gets out and at 5 when drivers who live in north Rohnert Park head home from work.

Runner-ups in this year’s contest were Spring Hill Road west of Petaluma and Highway 101 between Windsor and Healdsburg.

Last year’s winner was Lichau Road, a country route that winds up into the hills east of Rohnert Park, and 2010′s was Irwin Lane, west of Santa Rosa.

Tom O’Kane, deputy director of the county Transportation and Public Works Department, says a county committee tentatively plans to recommend improvements for some sections of Lichau Road, but there are no such plans for Irwin Lane or Spring Hill Road.

It all comes down to money, he says: The county doesn’t have enough to do all of the repairs needed.

For Lichau Road, residents along it have organized to push the county Board of Supervisors to improve the road, and Lichau upgrades also have been favored by Save Our Sonoma Roads, a group formed about a year ago to lobby local officials to spend more money on road maintenance and improvements throughout the county.

To see readers’ comments/votes for the worst road, CLICK HERE.

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Comments

23 Comments

  1. Paul

    Good choices! But I still think Sutter in Petaluma ranks up there because it is smack in the middle of a residential section. I have been on Kaiser and it is bad but not traveled much at all.

    October 1st, 2012 3:27 pm

  2. Dar

    Any chance you could contact Caltrans or the government body that is responsible for the section of 101 between Windsor and Healdsburg to see if anything is going to be done to address that horrible section of highway? It would be greatly appreciated!

    October 1st, 2012 3:29 pm

  3. Road.Warrior

    Dar,

    Got a call in to Caltrans.

    October 1st, 2012 3:37 pm

  4. Oski

    Glad to see Keiser “won”—it is very worthy of the dubious honor! Trust me, I am on it 5 days a week, shuttling kids to and from school….

    October 1st, 2012 4:30 pm

  5. rasputin

    maybe if people slowed down they would not be beating their cars to death. No they will not as slowing down is a proactive choice and takes the responsibility of the driver. They want the roads to be like race tracks so they can wait on the couch watching tv untill the last second and then they try to make up time by driving faster.

    These roads were build by farmers for their wagons. then the county came along hired a bunch of farmer kids to pave them with no foundation. Now with all the city slickers driving them all day long they are falling apart everywhere. Its the country, get used to it or move back to the big suburban cities in the south bay where you came from.

    October 1st, 2012 6:39 pm

  6. Rex Faktor

    The map in the story is a nice touch. More PD articles would benefits from such support…

    October 1st, 2012 7:05 pm

  7. PeggyR

    Rasputin makes a good point: it is the drivers’ responsibility to slow down when necessary. On the other hand, the street I voted for – Milbrae between Stony Point and the WalMart/Home Depot shopping center in Rohnert Park — is posted as 40 mph. Now if it’s posted at 40 mph, you can hardly blame drivers for driving 40 mph. The City/County/whoever shares some responsibility here: if they know a road is in particularly poor condition and that it isn’t going to be fixed any time soon, then they should post — and enforce — a significantly reduced speed limit. When there’s no one behind me, I drive Milbrae at 30 max.

    October 1st, 2012 7:13 pm

  8. Stephen

    The people who live on Cavedale Rd. would kill for a road so nice. The picture make the choice look down right smoooooth.

    October 1st, 2012 7:32 pm

  9. jon

    Who cares about Keiser road. They should make it a gravel driveway before spending any money on it. The fact that it even made the list is ridiculous. It only saves a couple seconds of time.

    If driving on that road seems to damage your car, the solution is simple. TAKE RP EXPRESSWAY!!

    October 1st, 2012 7:37 pm

  10. Itsme

    Part of the problem is the drivers. But the article is wrong; the entire length of Keizer Avenue (itself a hi-falootin’ name, as it USED to be Keizer Road) will two accommodate standard-size vehicles going in opposite directions. It’s the bad drivers who are the real problem:

    “I have an Ess-You-and Vee and I need to hog the road…the other guy needs to move over for me.”

    “It has no guard rails. What’s going to stop me from falling off the road?”

    “I have a Baby On Board (just as when those stupid signs were so popular…what the h*** does that have to do with anything?”

    October 1st, 2012 8:59 pm

  11. bootay

    i think ive gone 95 on that road. so saves more than a few seconds.

    October 1st, 2012 11:15 pm

  12. Mark

    …and the subtext of this ongoing theme, of course, is to beat the drum for diverting as much money as possible into roads and automotive infrastructure, which make millions for local construction firms. Which, coincidentally, happen to be deeply tied into the Press Democrat’s primary sources of revenue.

    Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth: Sonoma County is the largest of the 9 Bay Area counties, with an extensive network of roads, many of which were built atop wagon trails, without roadbeds. The county will never have sufficient revenue to bring all of them up to par, and we need to get used to it. There are higher priorities for our money. End of story.

    October 1st, 2012 11:31 pm

  13. Hannah

    They dont want to put money into the roads because they want their christmas bonus. Our tax dollars are obviously not going to schools or the roads, they are going to the government, and what is government? a body of people, people who get paid a lot of money to spend on their Mercedes or their boats. the streets are horrible. They just repaved marlowe rd and it feels and looks like crap, worse than it was before. sigh

    October 2nd, 2012 12:19 am

  14. Jeff

    I should’ve voted for Mark West Station. It’s falling apart just past Ocean View Farms and along Windsor Creek.

    October 2nd, 2012 12:15 pm

  15. Charlene

    I used to drive this road regularly and — honestly — if people know the road is bad, why don’t they slow down? I used to get passed by a lot of yahoo’s who apparently felt they could drive that road at 55+. I never had any damage to my vehicle; wonder why? It never hurts to slow down and watch for wildlife along rural roads like this, too.

    October 2nd, 2012 12:34 pm

  16. JEFF FERDINANDSON

    Has anyone seen the terrible resurfacing job done on marlow between guernville and piner?

    October 2nd, 2012 3:28 pm

  17. Glory

    What about Corby Avenue in Santa Rosa between the DMV and the 7-Eleven. That short distance is in shameful disrepair and is surely neglected because of the low income of that hugely populated neighborhood.

    October 2nd, 2012 3:34 pm

  18. Mike

    Thank you Cindy

    Cindy Senk, a co-owner of Senk Farms on the road, gives credit to the city roads crews.

    “The city of Rohnert Park is very good in coming out” to fill potholes, she said, noting a phone call brings a quick response. But there’s not much a road crew can do than fill potholes — the road “is so far gone.”

    October 3rd, 2012 5:45 pm

  19. anne

    next year you should have 2 categories, one for rural roads and one for city streets. the rural roads are all pretty crappy and we know the county isn’t going to fix them, but maybe the cities or county can do something about the worst high-traffic roads.

    October 3rd, 2012 6:28 pm

  20. Road.Warrior

    Anne,
    That’s a good idea. Thanks

    October 3rd, 2012 6:31 pm

  21. Marla Steele

    Definitely Liberty rd in Petaluma between Skillman and Pepper. I have been wanting to take a video camera and drive with it attached to the dash. My truck, trailer and car all had axle damage that I swear is from driving here every day. PLEASE do something with this road. It is a major thorough fare for the rural area.

    October 12th, 2012 7:35 am

  22. Art Hansen

    How about McNear Ave in Petaluma?
    Between Mountain View and Petaluma Blvd. is pothole heaven. If you are on a bike riding down the hill from the intersection at Country Club Drive your life is at risk.

    November 1st, 2013 4:03 pm

  23. Troy

    Spring Hill Road, in Petaluma; needs to be paved

    November 7th, 2013 1:33 pm

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