Santa Rosa officially asked the California Public Utilities Commission for authorization to create a street-level pedestrian and cyclist crossing at Jennings Avenue near Coddingtown mall.
This solution would replace the city's original idea: building a bridge across Jennings Avenue for bicyclists and pedestrians. The bridge was met with strong opposition from Santa Rosa residents, and was even described as a visual “monstrosity” by some.
The street-level crossing would reduce the aesthetic impact of the crossing, but still has some local businesses fearing it will keep motorists and delivery trucks from reaching them.
According to news sources, the city hopes to construct the crossing without shutting down any of the other street crossings in near Railroad Square in downtown.
Currently, the commission has a policy that requires closure of one crossing to create another. However, in the interest of public safety, closing one of the crossings in downtown may not be wise.
One advocate for the new crossing told news sources the commission should only uphold its policy if it acts in the best interest of residents. He wrote, “The commission should adhere to its policy…only to the extent that application of the policy to a specific set of facts advances the interests of public safety.”
ONGOING EFFORT TO INCREASE PEDESTRIAN AND CYCLIST SAFETY IN SANTA ROSA
With the possibility of the new railroad crossing, Santa Rosa hopes to continue an ongoing string of projects to increase safety for bicyclists and pedestrian throughout the city.
In2013, the city completed a “road diet” on Petaluma Boulevard South, which made the four-lane road into a two-lane road. The modification allowed more room for cyclists and pedestrians.
In December 2014, Santa Rosa tested a new traffic signal on Montgomery Drive that flashes red lights when a pedestrian enters the cross walk. The new crossing was installed in a somewhat rural area, where drivers may not expect to see a pedestrian crossing the street.