As Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Rosa campus grows, so do the traffic woes. It’s difficult for patients to get into and out of the campus without delay. We’re still waiting for a response from Kaiser Permanente representatives to this question from Road Warrior reader Judson, but city traffic engineers say they are well aware of the problem.

My beef and concern is the way the City of Santa Rosa is working with Kaiser Hospital in managing traffic at their main hospital entrance. Coming from the 101 headed East, it is the only entrance to the hospital available and it’s half as wide as it should be, especially for emergency vehicles.

The Kaiser entrance at the intersection of Bicentennial Way and Ventura Ave is a bottleneck for Kaiser doctors, employees and patients. The left turn lane waits far too long and doesn’t change often enough. I often have to sit through two light cycles before I am able to make the turn into Kaiser. The turn lane is too short also.

(Once inside the campus) the main entrance to the hospital en route to the front door requires going over a huge dip in the very narrow driveway, an abrupt stop sign that limits the number of cars that can enter at one time, and then a maize of turns back and forth and around just to get anywhere in there. I’m amazed the ambulances and EMTs put up with it. 

I’m hoping you may be able to help me with some ideas here about how to generate some interest in making the hospital entrance better?? – Judson

Rob Sprinkle, supervising traffic engineer for Santa Rosa, responds:

“We are already working with Kaiser with some of their internal circulation and how that may affect the entrance and some back-ups in the A.M. commute. I do have some ideas about the left turn into the site and some signal timing adjustments that may help.  That will take a little programming, but we will try to get to it soon.” 

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  1. Harry Martin

    As bad as the Kaiser traffic may be at times just wait until the new Sutter Hospital opens! It will make Kaiser seems like a walk around Spring Lake.

    April 26th, 2013 9:17 am

  2. Brad Silvestro

    Ambulances typically don’t try to access Kaiser from Bicentennial. We continue north on 101 to the next exit, Mendocino Ave, and then come south on Mendocino to another entrance at the north end of the hospital complex that goes directly to the Emergency Department. Further south on Mendocino is another driveway for patients and visitors that is far easier to access. I personally avoid the main Kaiser entrance for the reasons already mentioned. Perhaps try this other public entrance???

    April 26th, 2013 9:23 am

  3. mond

    I use this east bound direction every morning and west bound in the late afternoon.

    My observations:

    I see that most drivers have a need in the morning to either:
    - get to the Hospital for work or visit
    - go to the County court house for jury duty of visits
    so the right lane or the left lane are the most congested.

    It’s very dangerous for the Hospital bound driver that came off the freeway that wants to get to that left turn lane when the volume of east-bound traffic doesn’t seem to let them merge onto the east bound lanes to get there.

    The wide concrete-divider in the middle of (east/west bound) Bicentennial Way needs to be narrowed so that the left turn lane drivers going into the Hospital will not protrude out onto another lane partially to block those east bound drivers.
    The city traffic department added that concrete median so that driver cannot make left turns out of that Coldwell Banker office parking lot to go west on Bicentennial way.

    Suggestions (that’ll cost a lot of money):

    1. Create separate freeway off-ramp onto the Sonoma County court house area via Russell Ave.

    2. Create separate freeway off-ramp entry into the Kaiser Hospital parking lot. It will be tricky engineering coming off that circular off ramp.

    Those 2 are many peoples’ dreams. Make it happen.

    With my 2009 submission to “SeeClickFix” on

    “Short-cutting the left turn signal by U-turn in the middle of Bicentennial Way”

    The city traffic dept. try fixing it by adding those orange plastic poles epoxy onto the road surface to prevent the said issue, but there are daily drivers still making the U-turns at the left turn light so that they don’t have to circle the Kaiser Hospital grounds to get to their parking space.

    Hopefully, the city can come up with quick resolutions.

    April 26th, 2013 10:15 am

  4. Elizabeth

    Caltrans is planning to upgrade the ramps at Airport Blvd., which doesn’t really have a problem. I wish they would spend that money on bicentenial and Mendocino ramps to upgrade them and make them “full-service”. That work is needed much more than upgrades for Airport.

    April 26th, 2013 1:59 pm

  5. Judson

    What a surprise! Thanks Linda for reprinting this. There several good ideas in the responses but just saying use another driveway is not one of them. I’m glad the city is “aware” of the problem. They are probably “aware” of dozens of other poorly timed traffic lights in town also. I was working at Kaiser when the signaled traffic intersection was built. Why did this plan get approved initially? I’ve even offered my time to volunteer to gather data on an intersection by intersection basis just because I know how frustrated many city drivers are with many traffic light timings.

    April 26th, 2013 3:54 pm

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