Sonoma County transportation officials are looking at ways to get more use out of local Park-and-Rides — those lots right off the highway where commuters park and either carpool or take public transit to their final destination.

Caltrans and Cotati have reached a tentative agreement to transfer an under-utilized Park-and-Ride in Cotati to the city for redevelopment. The plan would expand an existing Park-and-Ride lot in southern Petaluma that is perpetually full and build a new lot north of Santa Rosa at Airport Boulevard.

Cotati’s 166-space Park-and-Ride, which is virtually empty most weekdays, is about a mile south of Rohnert Park’s lot, which is typically packed between commute times. Cotati would keep up to 40 spaces under the proposal.

The Old Redwood Highway lot sits on prime Cotati real estate that city officials say could be used to develop its northern gateway.

The plan would nearly double the existing Park-and-Ride at Petaluma Boulevard South. On most days, cars spill out of the 40-space lot and park on the street.

The lot is located in the middle of a construction project that will create a new interchange at Petaluma Boulevard South and improve access to Highway 101. Transportation officials say an expanded lot there would get more cars off the road in a critical spot where the freeway narrows to four lanes through northern Novato.

Highway construction in this area, known as the Marin-Sonoma Narrows, will not widen the freeway, officials say. The project to add carpool lanes through the Narrows has a $250 million funding gap, officials say.

At Airport Boulevard in Santa Rosa, the new 100-space lot would be located at the newly expanded Airport Boulevard interchange near the northern limits of Sonoma County’s carpool lanes.

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