The city's plans to build a bike boulevard and traffic circles on East D Street have met opposition in the form of a petition to try to stop the project.

Opponents say that the project will make the neighborhood unsafe because removing stop signs and adding traffic circles in their place would make the traffic flow dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and others. They also say the traffic circles will reduce parking and harm local businesses on the street.

Annie Van Maaren — who with her husband owns Evermay Garden Center, on the corner of East D and Wilson streets — organized the petition opposing the project. It states that removing stop signs would be a hazard for residents and others in the area.

"This is something that we are going to be submitting to the council," said Van Maaren about the petition. In the last few days, Van Maaren said she has gathered three pages of signatures from people who stopped by her store.

The bike route is a pilot project funded by a $50,000 grant that the city received from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for clean air projects. While design details are still being worked out by the city's public works department, the project would include roundabouts at the three intersections on East D Street between Payran and Lakeville Streets.

The route would reduce carbon emissions by preventing cars from idling and encouraging biking with signage and street markings. The project would be similar to Santa Rosa's Humboldt Street Bicycle Boulevard, and would eventually come before the City Council for approval.

City staff said that whatever design is chosen will not harm residents or businesses. The project will have a one-year pilot period in which the city will monitor the route's effectiveness. The design may be changed after the pilot period.

Plans for the bike route are part of the city's General Plan. For cyclists crossing town, East D Street is seen as a safer route than East Washington Street.

City officials said that a community meeting will be held in late summer to allow residents to give input on the design. City engineer Curt Bates said that a date for the meeting will be set next week.

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