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A Press Democrat Blog

Road Warrior

Trying to make sense out of getting around

Another way to fix crosswalks?

Just before 9 a.m. Sunday, a 97-year-old visually impaired woman was struck while trying to cross East Washington Street at Elly Boulevard South in Petaluma. Petaluma Police officers found her in the crosswalk with moderate injuries, along with a 62-year-old driver who told them she hadn’t seen the pedestrian until the collision occurred. Officers said the sun may have contributed to the driver’s lack of vision but, in a press release, Sgt. Ken Savano also pointed to the “protected and… Read More »

Big changes at the Road Warrior

We’re changing drivers at the Road Warrior blog. After nearly three years of writing the column — and 29 years at The Press Democrat — I’m retiring on Monday and Linda Castrone, editor of The Press Democrat’s Towns section, will take over Tuesday. She’ll do an excellent job. The column has grown tremendously since it debuted April 22, 2010, with more than 1,000 columns, a total of 3 million page views and more than 7,400 published comments from readers. I… Read More »

Disabled parking: It’s expensive if you’re not

You’re just going to run into the store for a couple of minutes, but there’s no parking nearby, except for the spot reserved for the disabled. Ahh, you figure, it’ll only be a couple of minutes – what could it hurt? It could hurt your wallet, not to mention keeping someone disabled from using the spot they need and deserve. Last year in Santa Rosa, city parking officers and police officers issued a total of 750 tickets for parking in… Read More »

Mailbag: What’s a STAR smog test? Bicyclists must follow rules of the road

We’ve had several readers write in asking what the new STAR smog test program is. Here’s an answer: The state Bureau of Automotive Repair on Jan. 1 changed its smog test program by eliminating Gold Shield smog-check stations, which generally handled potentially high polluting vehicles, and creating STAR test stations, which must meet a higher performance standard for technicians and the stations themselves as set by the bureau. Some of the STAR stations are test only while others can do… Read More »

19-day Sonoma County crackdown on DUIs to get under way

Sonoma County police officers for 19 days will be cracking down on DUI drivers. The county’s Avoid the 13 anti-DUI task force will begin its annual, stepped-up Christmas-New Year’s enforcement on Friday, with a DUI/license checkpoint at an undisclosed location. The checkpoint will be one of four the task force will hold during its winter campaign, which ends Jan. 1. “Lots of folks will be out during this busy holiday season, enjoying themselves and the holiday festivities, and we want… Read More »

Petaluma gets $600,000 in traffic enforcement grants

More than $600,000 in state traffic enforcement grants have been awarded recently to Petaluma police for a range of operations, including Sonoma County’s Avoid the 13 anti-DUI Task Force. Here are quick looks at each grant: –The biggest is $300,000 for a variety of traffic safety crackdowns by Petaluma police. About half of it allows the city to keep a traffic unit officer by covering his salary and benefits, said Sgt. Ken Savano, who oversees the traffic unit. That officer… Read More »

Mailbag: Petaluma roundabout, illegal U-turn

Here’s a question from a Road Warrior reader: For the last 3 weeks I’ve watched the police presence at the roundabout near 101 on Petaluma Blvd S change from enforcement to encroachment.  There’s been an officer stationed at the roundabout 4 of 5 mornings every single week, often with TWO officers in the region.  I feel like the city is trying to harvest ticket revenue from the area. I’ve been commuting this area for months and don’t understand the issue.  If… Read More »

3 DUI/license checkpoints this weekend

Police in Sonoma County plan three DUI/license checkpoints this weekend. Santa Rosa officers will run a checkpoint from 7 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday at a location police won’t disclose. The Avoid the 13 Sonoma County DUI Task Force, in which all county police agencies participate, will hold two checkpoints, also at undisclosed locations. But odds are good that at least one of them will be in Petaluma because Petaluma police coordinate the task force. Petaluma Police Sgt. Ken… Read More »

Petaluma warns of SMART road closures

There’s a train coming, and Petaluma is trying to get the word out that the related construction next month will shut several streets at rail crossings. “It’ll be a bit of a mess. People will find a way (around it), they will have to, ” said Petaluma Police Sgt. Ken Savano. The tentative schedule, according to police, for the SMART train work calls for closure at the tracks of: –Corona Road, Sept, 11 to 13. –Payran Street, Sept. 18 to… Read More »

Five-peat for Petaluma police

It’s a five-peat for Petaluma police. For the fifth year in a row, the department was honored by the California Law Enforcement Challenge  for having the best  program of cracking down on impaired drivers among the state’s police departments. (When it comes to five-peats, the New York Yankees did it by winning the World Series from 1949 to 1953 and the Montreal Canadiens by winning the Stanley Cup 1056 to 1960, so it’s not easy.) At a ceremony Thursday at… Read More »