Opinion on the proposed new hotel on the Plaza
PO Box 351, Vineburg, CA 95487
The proposed new hotel in Sonoma is a bad idea from the point of view of gridlock and congestion on the Plaza. As things stand now, any rush hour plus all weekends of never-ending, frothing at the mouth, Disneyland wine tourist type hype, it is impossible to drive around the Plaza. Impossible: too many cars, buses, vans, limos, delivery trucks, tourists, dogs, horses, pedestrians, bikes, skateboards, rickshaws. It is obvious; the Plaza is already maxed out in terms of population and transportation infrastructure. Any decision to increase traffic will constitute a willful negligence of planning and managing a sane level of foot and automobile traffic in the center of town.
However, Darius Anderson is a big fish. Most probably city council members are subtly blackmailed to support him by an accumulation of unspoken quid pro quo agreements and consequences. All that will be needed is three votes, over-representing the whole valley’s population, to make life miserable for all the rest of us who have to drive around this town.
Given that the city council will probably not be able to resist the heroin of new tax dollars and the arm twisting of a powerful big fish, I have a few suggestions. Reroute Highway 12 from Bonneau Corners up Arnold Drive and bypass downtown Sonoma. Take out 75% of the east/west stop signs on MacArthur to create a viable cross-town route. Put four street lights on Napa Street at the Plaza, First Street West, Broadway and First Street East, to keep all the tourists at bay and allow for some managed control of all the people and cars.
You can’t have a quaint little Plaza scene if you keep injecting more people into it; the very scale destroys the attraction of it. So, new hotel, new traffic modifiers to handle the volume, say goodbye to the façade of quaint. The wine tourist economic gestalt is the new bubble and the powers that be seem intent on riding it until it pops, so council members, at least give the rest of us a chance to be able to drive around town in the meantime.