Split council won?t seek grant for reducing lanes from 4 to 2 on Petaluma Boulevard

The council couldn?t muster the required four votes Mon-day night to apply for a federal road-safety grant that would have funded the bulk of the $867,000 project.

With Councilmember Tiffany Ren? recusing herself because she lives within 500 feet of the potential project site, the council split 3-3 on the question of whether to pursue the grant.

Mayor Pamela Torliatt, Vice Mayor Teresa Barrett and Councilmember David Glass supported the application, but council members Mike Harris, Mike Healy and David Rabbitt did not.

Healy said he thought the road diet ? two travel lanes with a center left-turn lane ? between Washington and D streets would drive people away from the downtown area.

Rabbitt said the project would require a ?pretty significant match? of $105,000 in city funds and added that downtown business and property owners hadn?t been consulted.

?I think a lot of people feel out of the loop on this,? he said.

A representative of the Petaluma Downtown Association said the group?s board had voted to oppose the road-diet plan.

?We really hope this doesn?t happen,? gallery owner Linda Postenrieder told the council.

The city?s capital improvements manager, Larry Zimmer, acknowledged that notification of nearby merchants and property owners had been ?inadequate? but said it would be presumptuous of the city to begin planning the project before receiving the grant.

If the grant were secured, it would take at least a year to plan and build the new roadway, he said.

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