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Here are some comments from Road Warrior readers:

Misleading bus schedule

I’m wondering if there are other people out there who have been misled by the online trip planning schedules from the Santa Rosa City Transit website.  I am a single mother of 4 who works evenings.  I have 2 teenagers that I have attempted to use the online trip planning with and they have ended up stranded because the bus never came.  Tonight, for example, I dropped my 16 year old son off at a job interview with instructions on taking the bus home, before heading to work myself.  The first half of his trip was on the Sonoma County bus which worked out great.  He gets to the Santa Rosa mall transit at about 6:15 pm and, per the Santa Rosa City Transit website, he should have been able to take the #7 bus at 7 pm to our home around Mission and Hwy 12.  I specifically asked him to wait for the bus, and not walk home in the dark.  By 7:45 pm the bus had not come, so I told him to go ahead and make the hour long walk home….in the dark.  This is not the first time I have attempted to use the online trip planner and have received inaccurate information.  With the limited resources I have, I am trying to teach my children to be self sufficient and resourceful.  Am I wrong for feeling that I should be able to trust the bus schedule times posted online?

Heidi

Watch those turn lights and turn your headlights on

I witnessed today someone who turned on a red arrow light from the lefthand turn lane from Petaluma Hill Road onto Yolanda.  We both happened to stop at the same business, so I nicely pointed out he had just run a red light.  He thought it was a “yield” intersection.  This is a reminder to drivers that there are several different kinds of turn lane lights.  A red arrow is like a STOP sign:  it is not a suggestion.  It means STOP and stay STOPPED till the light turns a green arrow.  Other intersections are signed that say a turn is OK “yield on green (circle).”  I am sure there are safety reasons why some intersections are one kind and some another.  It is still not legal or safe to make your left turn on a red arrow!  I am just glad there was not a cyclist commuter coming along at that moment because he was certainly looking for a clear spot between cars to turn.

Also, any rainy day everyone should have their headlights on!  Sure, you might be able to see, but others can’t see your vehicle.  Many vehicles are light-gray/silver/silver-gold, other light colors or black and they are impossible to see in rainy or foggy conditions.  Your headlights also turn on your tail-lights, equally important in these conditions.  Your automatic daytime running lights do not turn on your tail-lights.  If you don’t know how to manually turn on your headlights, find out before the next time you turn on your ignition, for everyone’s safety. Thank you.

SER

Thoughts about getting around in Santa Rosa

I don’t know much about the political drama that had Caltrans planning to put 12 through Spring Lake, er, Santa Rosa Creek Reservoir. It was no big deal in the planning stages since that was just a man-made floodwater storage pond, I guess part of the system with the tunnels under downtown. But I hear some homeowners in the path were not so willing to move.  I understand it ended up on the ballot too, but why wasn’t it extended at least to Summerfield?  Farmer’s Lane at rush hour is usually at or beyond capacity, seems it would be more “green” to reduce the number of idling cars and trucks and start/stop traffic (more fuel usage, bigger “carbon footprint”) than to use the Caltrans right-of-way for a path.

A guy who used to work for the city was telling me about the underpass at Stony Point being built — that a decimal point was misplaced and pilings ended up being a few feet off or something.  An interesting project where the bridge was built first, and then the dirt underneath dug out.  He said the Fulton underpass was supposed to be identical but didn’t know how it got to not being built way back then, or why there are Caltrans temporary-type offices there.

I don’t know about the misplaced decimal point, but I do know 12 from Fulton to Stony Point is one of the nicest, flattest, straightest sections of road in the county. It could be a runway.  It would be nice if whoever built this part was still building roads around here. The quality just isn’t the same. Why don’t we have more roads like this?  Was this a test section or something?  Would’ve been cool to be driving alongside trains on the Joe Rodota trail, pre-85, before my driving time.

As an occasional tow truck driver, I noticed something on 12 one day while in the middle: The center divider is offset; more shoulder on the westbound side than the eastbound side.  Was there a plan to add another lane at one point, or at least reserve the capacity for one?

Going through the “Trejo” (another story everyone should know, great man vs. scum) interchange, most of the spots where it transitions from road to bridge have asphalt patches at the unions. Some of these are in really bad shape.  I’m really used to the eastbound left lane over 101 where it’s been a little drop-off for years.  Not sure why the maintenance on these weak spots is so infrequent.

I’ve been to several roll-over recoveries where I’m specifically told, “the NB 101 connector ramp to WB 12, but stay on NB 101 and pull to the shoulder just north of the ramp.”  This is a common spot for people to misjudge. They go over the edge and down a steep drop-off.  It seems some sort of guardrail would help prevent a fair number of vehicles from leaving the roadway here. There are guardrails at other spots in this interchange that seem far less hazardous, so how did this curve get overlooked?

Rex, Santa Rosa

Frustrating red lights

I read the letters to you regarding people running red lights. It’s no wonder they do this. Every light seems to have motion sensors which changes the light to red every time a car pulls up to the light. We’re talking within 15 seconds so there is no time for the light to collect a few cars before it goes red. This creates lights going from green to red like a carousel bottling up traffic into big groups of cars. I have to admit that at times I find myself so frustrated if it’s still yellow I’ll go through even though I could possibly stop. It’s bad enough that Santa Rosa has no east to west corridor. Traveling from Calistoga Rd. to N. Dutton took 20 minutes and 15 stop lights. Another problem I’ve observed is drivers have no regard for the speed limit I’m not talking speeding I’m talking about going 10 miles under the speed limit. People then dodge from lane to lane to try and get around them. I have at numerous times thought I was speeding and was actually going the speed limit. I’m not even going to bring up the condition of our roads. It’s a travesty that we are paying city employees their pensions and benefits before we fix our roads. I think it’s high time that our city officials start doing their jobs instead of protecting them.

Doug

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Comments

7 Comments

  1. Robert B. Tanner

    Reading the last several comments in the last two blogs of the Road Warrior, I feel the frustration of other drivers that have to navigate Santa Rosa’s terrible traffic lights. Especially those with the full left-turn solid red protection arrow.

    I see many violations of red lights of frustrated drivers, especially at solid red arrow turn lights.

    The problem is that cities are afraid of lawsuits due to unprotected left turns. Something needs to be done to protect cities from such lawsuits as we can’t continue with using Protected Only red left-turn lights with red light delays as long as as a minute and a half.

    The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) discusses problems with badly operated traffic signals in its Section 4B.03. They include:

    A.) Excessive delay.

    B.) Excessive disobedience of the signal indications (I. E. RED LIGHT RUNNING!)

    C.) Increased use of less adequate routes as road users attempt to avoid the traffic control signals; and

    D.) Significant increases in the frequency of collisions (Especially rear-end collisions)

    I have noticed ALL these problems with Santa Rosa’s traffic lights. Further more, I have additional problems to what the MUTCD has pointed out:

    E.) Increased pollution from excessive idling traffic.

    F.) Disruption and delays to public bus transit. (Citybus can’t keep their schedules.)

    G. Discourages walking and bicycling. (Long delays are bad enough for drivers, it’s worse for bikes and peds.)

    H.) idling traffic contributes to Climate Change.

    There are new Protective-Permissive left-turn signals out there now. One has a flashing yellow arrow, the other has a flashing red arrow (My preference.) The engineers know about both these alternatives. Both new lights are in the MUTCD, fully approved for use.

    If I can’t convince traffic engineers to make changes using the MUTCD (Their bible) how are we going to fix this? The City of Santa Rosa is spending a fortune on maintaining all these traffic lights, along with all the police officer hours spent on enforcement. I’ve been dealing with this for the past 25 years!

    This is a serious problem. I no longer do business in Santa rosa if i can help it, due to this.

    December 24th, 2012 2:49 pm

  2. Suzanne

    In response to Heidi “misleading bus schedule.” I couldn’t agree more. My daughter has waited for bus 4 and bus 7 to get to Rincon Valley and the times listed online are completely inaccurate. She is also 16 and it’s worrisome to have her waiting in the dark. Either the online information needs updating or the buses need to pick up the pace. I am with you here, working moms need to be able to trust the info posted online regarding public transportation ESPECIALLY when we are putting our children on the buses!

    December 25th, 2012 10:01 am

  3. Laura Gonzalez

    The comments by Robert are interesting. I have tried to get the city (and CalTrans) to look at a light near my home at Farmers Lane and Vallejo. The light for Vallejo, or to make left turns onto Vallejo is interminable. I see people routinely turn against the red when there is no traffic.

    The eastbound lane has a no right turn on red, that is also ignored. When I asked, I was told the trees on Farmers Lane present an impediment to the drivers on eastbound Vallejo. This is blatant crap. The right turn onto Farmers from Sonoma is much more of a blind turn, and should be made a no right on red.

    The southbound Farmers Lane is also a mess, because there’s almost always 1 or 2 drivers who run the red light because they have momentum for getting on Hwy 12 westbound, and aren’t about to stop for anything as ridiculous as other drivers or pedestrians. I was almost hit while walking my dogs, and have decided to NEVER cross Farmers Lane at Vallejo. To do so is folly.

    December 25th, 2012 10:44 am

  4. Al

    Doug – I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am often frustrated by a city council that bemoans drive-throughs due to the possibility of increased pollution yet allows these terribly timed traffic lights to continue. For me to get from downtown SR to Rincon Valley I have hit 10 out of 11 red lights and this is not an uncommon occurrence. It’s also terribly frustrating the clumps of traffic these lights create. Along highway 12 there can be no traffic for up to a minute and suddenly a huge clump of cars come all at the same time due to the poorly timed traffic lights.

    December 25th, 2012 11:07 am

  5. MC RIDER

    DITTO! here

    December 25th, 2012 11:29 am

  6. david calvi

    There does seem to be problems with City Buses Online Trip Planner.
    Today, Dec 25th, there is NO bus service due to the holiday. When this date was entered on the trip planner it gave me directions to get to my destination! What it did not tell me is that I would have to wait 24 HOURS for that bus to come. As for the Route 7 bus that never came @ 7 pm it is possible that the wrong date was entered and a weekday schedule was searched when a Saturday schedule would show the last bus leaving @ 6:30 pm.

    December 25th, 2012 11:46 am

  7. t. raymond

    Once at around age 18, i got stranded in marin city for 3 hours trying to get home to fairfax.
    it was at that point i swore to myself i would NEVER use public transit again. I never have since. And i never will. End of story.
    I am just grateful that i was not female. Being too ugly to harass has its merits..

    December 26th, 2012 7:17 am

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