What’s a state highway doing in Sonoma?

Posted on September 15, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

At some point – like four decades ago – we need to move the state highway OUT of Sonoma. (How many California state highways have three schools within half-a-mile of each other?) But keeping freeways out of Valley of the Moon comes at a cost that politicians and Caltrans don’t want to pay.

It’s this simple and this complicated…
1. Widen Hwy 12 to four lanes from Napa to Bonneau.
2. Reduce speed limits and narrow Napa Rd from Hwy 12 to Broadway to restrict local traffic enormously.
3. Widen Arnold Dr four lanes from Bonneau to Stage Gulch Rd and widen Stage Gulch, too, to four lanes.
4. Widen Adobe Rd to four lanes to Frates in Petaluma
5. Widen Frates to four lanes to Hwy 101.

Of course, it’s taken a couple of decades to make Hwy 101 wider from the county line to Santa Rosa. (I call it the Winchester Mystery House Caltrans Project of the Century.) So, we’ll have to wait for Caltrans to build a toll-funded floating Hwy 37 from Vallejo to Novato sometime in 2065 before they’ll consider spending $50 million to even study my proposal!

— Greg Brennan, Sonoma

7 thoughts on “What’s a state highway doing in Sonoma?

  1. Hwy 12 goes from Napa to Broadway.
    Napa Rd from Hwy 12 to Broadway is already only 2 lanes.
    Arnold already backs up getting to Stage Gulch.
    Sounds like the seed of a good idea, but it needs thoughtful planning plus review of the consequences!

  2. Doing this right could provide a needed reduction of traffic on 37.
    Bonneau is an annoying stop sign, needs a real traffic light!
    I live in Sonoma Valley (Agua Caliente), I almost always take Arnold to the city of Napa.
    We need to limit traffic on Agua Caliente West,
    One can barely see children coming out from between parked cars! (Widen Madrone?)

  3. Traffic issues in Sonoma Valley result from a legacy of Sleepy Hollow rural character protectionism and growth management. Now we reap the harvest of inadequate housing, infrastructure, and massive congestion as the modern world inexorably intrudes. The only remedy on the table is more density and more congestion, cram more rats in the cage. Yet with no space-making strategies (up, out, or denser) allowed without the threat of NIMBY WW3, we end up with a Green Checkmate, no movement allowed anywhere bc of micro-territorial defenses. Ironically the quest for quality of life has ended up degrading it, to where no one can be happy, and where state adults in the room have had to come in and overrule the locals. SB-9 and 10 will at least allow density without endless stalling. Maybe in the future the state will also be forced to build bigger trans arteries into and out of the valley, bc the dense core can’t be served by Sleepy Hollow-level roads.

  4. Now. 12 goes by the Charter School, How will sending traffic over Agua Caliente West, Where the children walk to the Charter School help? Arnold already has a least two schools on it. Altamira and Sonoma Valley Nazarene.
    One thing we need is a better problem statement. I wish we could build a tunnel under the mountains from Trinity Road to Oakville in Napa County, but I don’t know how we can convince the state, (Time to call in Elon Musk?)

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