Our previous Mailbag column generated comments and questions from readers:
From Tim: I have been doing a lot of driving in the Coddingtown area as of late and noticed an area of concern: Can you have someone look into the intersection of Cleveland Ave. & Guerneville Road? Specifically, going eastbound on Guerneville and turning north onto Cleveland the light stays green for LESS than 10 seconds. The dangerous part is most drivers are not aware of this, and I witnessed at least 8 cars go right through a red light. My concern is not only a vehicle accident but the pedestrians who try to cross there are very likely to be hit.
From Daily Commuter: You think that’s bad you should see the light on Hearn and Stony Point. I see 3 people a day running that red light because the light only stays on long enough for two cars to go through, unless there is someone going straight on the other side of Hearn and then one car gets through. I have noticed several people complain about this light as well and yet there is still no change. Heck, I even saw a guy get out of his car and press the pedestrian crosswalk button so the 20 cars behind him could get through the light before it turned red. Something needs to be done.
From Will: When you are going home from work or anytime and are at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and College Avenue attempting to turn left to get onto Hwy 101 the left turn signal only lets 2 to 3cars get through. This light has been this way for at least 5 years. Most times it’s faster for me to drive through the neighborhoods to get over to Stony Point and Hearn than it is to get on Hwy 101!!! Surely this is one of the worst timed lights in Santa Rosa.
The answers come from Rob Sprinkle, Santa Rosa’s traffic engineer, who promised to look into the intersections mentioned. Specifically, he says Cleveland at Guerneville is particularly congested this time of year with shoppers heading to and from Coddingtown stores. He says he recently drove through there at about 5 p.m. and it took him three cycles of the traffic lights to get through because of the holiday traffic.
As for College and Cleveland, Sprinkle says this is another intersection that takes a hit during the Christmas season. Part of the issue at the intersection is that the traffic signals are programmed to work together with the traffic light a block east at Highway 101, so that the ramps get long enough green lights to clear traffic, he says. Otherwise, he says, eastbound traffic on College will have no place to go.
Sprinkle says trying to improve traffic flow is more than just having longer green lights at a particular intersection — “It’s definitely more complicated than that.”
Here’s another question:
What’s going on at Petaluma Blvd North and Stony Point, near Denny’s. The other afternoon I was caught in a big backup on northbound Petaluma Blvd. D
The answer comes from Erica Ahmann Smithies, senior civil engineer for Petaluma, who says PG&E is burying power lines at that intersection and its work is expected to continue into March, weather permitting. The work has at times blocked the eastbound turn lane on Industrial Avenue at that intersection. She says a southbound lane on Petaluma Boulevard may be closed at times, but she doesn’t expect northbound to be affected much. As for the backup that the reader encountered, she says construction crews this week accidentally cut traffic sensors imbedded in the road, throwing the traffic signals’ timing off, and that may have caused the backup. She says city crews are trying to fix the problem.
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