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Sonoma County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter

On Traffic Circulation Relief

By Cindy Thomas

Candidate for Member, City Council; City of Petaluma

This information is provided by the candidate
We have very few transportation options when we travel within Petaluma. We have too many cars on our roads, partly due to the congestion on highway 101. Frustrated highway commuters are taking the North and South Petaluma Boulevard on-and-off ramps just to get out of slow moving traffic on the highway. I feel we need to continue researching additional ramps in Petaluma because the 4 existing ramps in each direction are not adequate. We need crosstown connectors which serve the needs of all 4 of the city's quadrants. I'm not in favor of a Rainier connector at Rainier because 10 years is too long to wait for the project to be completed and I don't believe current traffic conditions show the need for a Rainier connector. I'm in favor of the Rainier connector measure being on the ballot as this will make it clear to the City Council where the public stands on this controversial issue. Personally, I will not be voting in favor of the Rainier advisory measure, Measure S, this November. However, should the measure pass in the election, as a Concilmember I would support the desire of the voters to pursue a connector at Rainier. My current position on the pursuit of a connctor at Rainer would be to support an at-grade crossing instead of an overpass. I have publicly endorsed alternatives to the Rainier connector, and have suggested enhancing the Corona connector and also favor extending the Caulfield connector over the Petaluma River as reflected in our current General Plan. The extension of the Caulfield connector over the river would deposit westbound cars on the south end of Petaluma Boulevard creating a north approach to the downtown area and providing relief at the Lakeville and D Streets traffic signal. With the planned development at Kenilworth, we could redesign the on-and-off ramps at Caulfield and at Washington to provide relief and access to the Kenilworth site. In addition, we can look forward, in the future, to a Northbound on-ramp to 101 at Washington to provide further relief. While the need to widen 101 still exists, we need rail transit between Sonoma and Marin Counties. The passing of the cent county sales tax would do much to improve highway traffic congestion in Petaluma and would also address the street surface problems on our county roads. Within town, we have limited bike lane access in the city and street surface challenges that discourage bicyclists from riding on our streets due to the safety issues. The current city council has made huge progress in the planning and implementation of street repairs and I trust they will continue to do so without taking future money away from the general fund and compromising city services and the safety of our community. Our current bus system doesn't serve the needs of many in the community. The addition of a downtown trolley service and increased bus service could provide some relief. We need to manage future growth in Petaluma before we can manage our traffic circulation problems. The overall traffic congestion solutions are there, we need to continue researching all the possibilities with full public participation in finding those solutions. The real challenge comes in the funding. Depending on the solution, the city may be able to seek existing funds available from state or federal agencies. Special assessment districts may be a possible funding solution and one which I could support.

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