As 2017 opens, I would like to wish all of you a Happy New Year and extend my gratitude for your support throughout these past four years. On January 10, I will be sworn in for my second term as your supervisor and for the first time, there will be a woman majority on the Board of Supervisors. I am looking forward to continuing my commitment to the First District to make a difference every day. This experience has been nothing short of amazing, largely due to the people I represent in what I believe is the most stunningly gorgeous Valley in the county.
To be sure, the challenges have been many, but the rewards have been great. I’ve enjoyed working with the residents, nonprofits, elected officials, and business and environmental communities on critical issues. One of my main areas of focus has been and will continue to be the Hwy 12 corridor.
Nearing the completion of Highway 12 is a huge accomplishment for everyone involved over the many years, but now we cannot rest and instead, must look forward together in focusing on the next set of challenges. These include parking, housing, economic development, while preserving the character of our neighbors and ensuring our community can continue to afford to live here. These next steps will require all of our collective talents, ideas and energy. I am currently working with stakeholders on the creation of a Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) in The Springs area. We will write more about this initiative in the coming months.
In the meantime, it is exciting to see so many people on the street in the Springs, especially in the evenings, walking to food trucks, restaurants and frequenting businesses – even when the temperatures are freezing! To support increased commercial activity in the center of the Springs, we have repaved the Boyes Plaza Center parking lot.
Recently, you may have noticed new parking signage as well. Spots are now marked either 15 minutes or 90 minutes, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days per week. Both the CHP (253.4906) and our sheriff’s department (996.9495) will assist with enforcement. While I realize parking is very challenging for residents in The Springs, we must protect the public parking spots that are necessary to support local businesses as well as the post office. We have spoken to the people who park there regularly many times, and they are aware of the enforcement changes. We are working to develop a second public parking lot now.
You have likely noticed some cars are still parking in the bike lanes alongside Hwy 12. My office has been working with the CHP on enforcement as well as Transportation & Public Works on increasing the No Parking / Bike Lane signage. You will soon see increased signage and legends along the road. I will not rest until the bike lanes are completely clear for kids and adults to safely use those lanes without obstruction for transportation to schools, services and jobs.
In addition to updating the parking lot at the top of Boyes Blvd, we will be repaving the road from Arnold Drive to Hwy 12 in the summer of 2017. The downside of repaving a road is it becomes much easier to speed, so I again urge everyone to slow down as there are many pedestrians and residences along the road. Added to this project is the replacement of the Boyes Blvd Bridge in 2018; we are working with nearby property owners for the easements to accommodate the reconstruction. I am very happy to note the project will include much wider pedestrian and bike paths. Currently, the bridge is so narrow that it is extremely difficult to navigate on a bike and even quite narrow for pedestrians. A growing number of children walk along Boyes Blvd and across Boyes Bridge on their way to one of four schools in the area, and their safety is extremely important for our community. While the improvements on Hwy 12 are wonderful, we are far from finished.
Public safety hero
Congratulations to local Sonoma Valley substation Sergeant Cecile Focha for being awarded the 5th District Public Safety Heroine of the Year for 2016. Congressman Mike Thompson recognized Sgt. Focha’s long time commitment to the community through her professional achievements and personal advocacy, including being the first female detective sergeant at Sonoma County Sheriff’s Dept as well as her service of 7 years on the board of Verity which provides resources for victims of sexual violence. We are so fortunate to have her now stationed in the valley. Go CeeCee! I look forward working with Sgt. Focha as well as continuing to work with Lt. Bret Sackett in the coming year.