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Council action on Broadway traffic issue ‘inexcusable’

Posted on May 9, 2020 by Sonoma Valley Sun

I am stunned and extremely disheartened at the recent actions of the City Council regarding the reduction of lanes on Broadway. How can councilmembers, in good conscience, discount the wishes of the people that voted for them?

Why did the City go to the expense of creating a survey for the citizens, requesting their input, only to have the results ignored by the City Council? Members of the City Council who voted against the wishes of the townspeople should be required to reimburse the City of Sonoma for the total cost of creating and posting the survey they chose to disregard. I certainly did not anticipate members of the City Council to disrespect the opinions of the people who elected them.  

While one might appreciate the mayor for coming up with a compromise. The citizens had spoken. A compromise was offered to placate three City Council members who chose to overlook the wishes of the community. And the Mayor’s idea should have been vetted with CalTrans and presented as an option on the survey before ever coming to a vote. How can the council vote on an option when they do not even know if it is possible to implement?

The discussion and vote on the reduction of lanes on Broadway discussion was inexcusable. Certain members of the City Council should be deeply apologetic for their actions. Councilmembers Harrington and Cook spoke in support of and voted according to the wishes of the citizens of Sonoma. I applaud and thank them for performing their duty.

Janet Wedekind, Sonoma

 



5 thoughts on “Council action on Broadway traffic issue ‘inexcusable’

  1. Public comment was limited to electronic submissions that were made PRIOR to council discussion of the survey. And as I witnessed the meeting, Councilmembers Harrington and Cook voted against Mayor Harvey’s proposal…

    And while two councilmembers voted with the Mayor to approve his plan — which was NOT part of the survey — Councilmember Hundley did so, apparently grudgingly, by saying she would “take what she could get” in terms of new bike lanes to try to make Sonoma more bike friendly.

    Councilmember Agrimonti, though she also voted in approval, said she found the bike lanes on 5th St W to be “one of the worst” actions taken by previous council. Those two votes were tepid support of Mayor Harvey’s plan, at best. I’m willing to bet that both councilmembers would rescind their approval of your plan now that they’ve actually heard Sonomans speak out.

    Citizen response to the Sonoma Index Tribune article about the council’s Monday night review of the report and Mayor Harvey’s move for a four-block bike lane reflects significant public sentiment that he DOES NOT LISTEN to the people in our community.

    While I supported Mayor Harvey in his election efforts — even publicly with a sign in my yard — I can’t imagine doing so again should he choose to run.

    Our neighborhood coalition of more than fifty people in just four blocks has been begging for traffic calming for more than a year.

    Lack of traffic calming throughout Sonoma is a quality of life issue that’s been ignored by this council and others despite citizen requests from many neighborhoods.

    On the Broadway survey many citizens commented on their concerns about traffic in town. There were 700 total comments, which someone during the Monday night meeting said was among the most significant responses to any community survey. Clearly, people have something to say about traffic in Sonoma. Many of their comments were left out of the final report because they weren’t germane to the topic of THREE restriping options on Broadway.

    But people are sick of traffic – on 5th St W, on W Spain St, in the plaza, on Andrieux, and in our neighborhood of 5th St E, 4th St E and E Napa St.

    Large buses whiz down our neighborhood streets to drop tourists off for tastings at Sebastiani’s or other tasting facilities. Only recently did the police department assign an officer in charge of traffic enforcement violations. Traffic scofflaws speed unimpeded because we only have one Sonoma PD staffer who is technically able to use LIDAR and RADAR. Commercial vehicles drive through neighborhood streets with absolute impunity, in part because there is no enforcement and in part because the ordinance is so vague the police department traffic representative says he can’t enforce it. And because of these issues, public safety — not just quality of life — is at stake.

    Instead, the council spends time discussing cannabis shops, parking for tourists north of the plaza, tasting rooms, vacation rentals and more… And Mayor Harvey pushes his own agenda for a four-block bike lane by eliminating one vehicle lane on our only commercial vehicle route — the state highway through our city — by telling us that we got to comment about the plan when, in reality, we did not.

    Taking away one of the two lanes for commercial and other vehicles is a bad, unsafe concept. Councilmember Harrington was correct when she said there are other safe options for bike riders on parallel streets. But Mayor Harvey wanted his four-block bike lane, and so he gets it — the will of Sonomans be damned.

    Mayor Harvey’s action has caused many of his supporters, me included, to question that support.

  2. Will of the people have been ignored? Just because you all we’re against more bike lanes does not mean it wasn’t the right thing to do. Mayor Harvey is doing a great job. I think I’ll cancel out your vote Mr Brennan and vote for Mayor Harvey. We need bike lanes. Mayor Harvey is on the right side of this issue for sure.

  3. Will of the people have been ignored? Just because you all were gainst more bike lanes does not mean it wasn’t the right thing to do. Mayor Harvey is doing a great job. I think I’ll cancel out your vote Mr Brennan and vote for Mayor Harvey. We need bike lanes. Mayor Harvey is on the right side of this issue for sure.

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