How can you draw attention to bad roads? What are those triangles showing up on Santa Rosa streets? And when will roadwork be done on Bloomfield Road? Here’s what has been on Road Warrior readers’ minds.

Question: Mueller Rd. between Hwy. 116 and Graton Rd is desperately in need of a complete re-paving.  It’s beyond repair.  The same is true for Frei Rd. between Hwy. 116 and Guerneville Rd.  What do we have to do to draw attention to these two spots?  How is the re-paving budget allocated and what are the priorities for action. – Walt

That’s a simple question with a complicated answer. The short version: Lobby your county supervisor as soon as possible. The long version follows.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors decide which roads to repave each year, drawing from a list that starts with public works crews and works its way through administrators at the Department of Transportation and Public Works and finally through an ad hoc committee comprised of Susan Klassen, director of that department, two representatives from the County Administrator’s office and Supervisors David Rabbitt and Mark McGuire.

“Two or three months ago I put together a list from information I’ve gotten from engineering, construction and pothole crews,” said Tom O’Kane, deputy director of the county’s department of transportation and public works. Then he prioritized them, estimated the cost of each and devised a list that would meet his road maintenance budget. (It’s $16 million for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.)

His list went to Klassen and Jason Nutt, also a deputy director, through Phil Demerey, the department’s director and on to the ad hoc committee to discuss in early December. Their recommendations will likely go to the Board of Supervisors in January.

In 2010, the Board voted to reserve its long-term maintenance dollars for 200 miles of highly traveled, regionally significant roads, only 14 percent of the county’s 1,300-mile network. At the time, they acknowledged that most of the remaining 1,100 miles would ultimately return to gravel.

Last year the Board also allocated another $6.5 million for 13.2 miles of roads deemed important to the local economy because they lead to parks, wineries and other destinations serving tourism and agriculture. This summer that money was used to pave stretches of Bohemian Highway serving the Russian River, Doran Beach Road serving Bodega Harbor, West Dry Creek, Westside and Eastside roads serving wineries and vineyards, and Adobe Canyon Road and London Ranch Road serving state and county parks.

A small portion of Lichau Road also was included on the list, although it is in the hills east of Rohnert Park. Critics disagreed with its inclusion, saying Lichau was added because of political pressure by residents who actively lobbied the board for repairs.

Susan Klassen, the county’s deputy director of public works and transportation, said the road needed improvements to alleviate safety issues for school children visiting the Fairfield Osborne Preserve. She later acknowledged in an interview with Press Democrat Reporter Brett Wilkison that some roads were selected to balance funding among supervisorial districts or because of a groundswell caused by political pressure.

“I guess you could use the word squeaky wheel,” she said, referring to the complaint raised by critics. “To some extent, all the work we do is like that.”

Read the full story here.

New triangles showing up around town

Question: What are the new triangle-shaped lines painted on Fourth Street/Hwy. 12?  (I noticed them between College Ave. and Farmers Lane.)  Are these showing up anywhere else in town? – Jean

The answer comes from Rob Sprinkle, Santa Rosa Traffic Engineer. The sharks tooth markings indicate where you should stop while yielding to a pedestrian in the crosswalk.  They are accompanied by this sign.

There also is an installation on Yulupa Avenue at Matanza School, and Sprinkle says the city will slowly be transitioning to these markings as crosswalks are restriped.

When will road crews finish up?

Question: Last week county workers added a new level of asphalt pavement – at Bloomfield and 116 for about 1 mile stretch – but it was a different type of pavement with losts of rubble? What did they do?  And will they pave new lines as well over it – esp the white on the sides. They painted the two yellow lines at the beginning of October but still have yet to paint the side solid white lines on the sides. — Moses

The answer comes from Tom O’Kane, deputy director of the county’s transportation and public works department. “The edge lines will be reestablished as soon as we can schedule our contractor to return to several areas that need attention,” he said.

“You may know already, but we are still without a striping truck of our own. It is on order, but has not arrived yet to put in service. Some of the roads that were paved this year by our personnel have the edge lines remaining to be painted. We had the center line painted as soon as we finished, but the white edge lines will be done later.”


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  1. Jack

    The shark-tooth lines for ped. Xing have been in use in Petaluma for some time now. Glad to see Santa Rosa (slowly) taking more steps to improve ped. safety.

    At least as far as east SR is concerned.

    Several news-making west side intersections could use some improvements. The no-budget little short ped signs which sit in the middle of the road in a few places suck. We don’t need the presence of the crosswalk highlighted, we need the presence of PEDESTRIANS highlighted. Some of those nice flashing systems featured in the PD recently could do a lot to keep west residents from re-thinking that city does need to district-source its city members.

    November 19th, 2013 7:45 pm

  2. Jason Alexa

    Are you tired of bad roads?

    Here are five steps you can take right now.

    1. Join SOSroads as a paid member. Your membership helps SOSroads convince our supervisors to make roads a priority.

    2. Make a donation to SOSroads to support advocating for roads.

    3. Organize your neighborhood or community. Click here to read about what steps you can take to get your road fixed.

    4. Put up a Tired of Potholes sign in your neighborhood and on the bad roads you drive. Go to Contact Us to request signs or visit the Trek Bike Store in Santa Rosa to pick up a sign at 512 Mendocino Ave at 7th St.

    5. Write your supervisor and/or city council person to express your concern about the condition of our roads.

    November 19th, 2013 8:10 pm

  3. Road.Warrior

    Send some locations and we’ll pass them along. Where are the dangerous crosswalks?

    November 20th, 2013 10:31 am

  4. Jake

    Where are the dangerous crosswalks?

    Excellent question & I have the answer for you.

    Upon exiting highway 101 northbound at Bicentennial Way (county facilities) and looping around to the west side of highway 101 such that you are upon the overpass headed for Range Ave….

    As you exit from the looping offramp onto that overpass, you do not have a stop sign.

    There is NO warning that there is a cross walk at the end of that loop.

    I’ve seen many people crossing there, some with baby buggies, and cars coming around that loop at roughly 45 mph…. the drivers are always surprised if you watch them because they don’t stop there so they don’t notice its actually a cross walk.

    The only way to safely cross that walk is to watch the exiting traffic looping toward you and rapidly cross between cars coming at you.

    A CROSS WALK AHEAD sign is needed there badly. Roughly half way through the loop so drivers are alerted that a cross walk is only about 150 yards ahead.

    November 20th, 2013 5:19 pm

  5. nospam

    I’ve seen the shark teeth in Petaluma, have no idea what it means, so will continue to ignore them. Same for those bicycles with chevrons markings.

    As a feller said, “creativity in road signage is not a virtue”. You’re must use STANDARD signs that people KNOW what they mean, otherwise they are useless, and a waste of taxpayers money.

    November 22nd, 2013 5:17 pm

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