Several east Petaluma streets are in line to receive improvements to control traffic after the city council approved a $95,000 project that settles a challenge to the Deer Creek shopping center from a neighborhood group.
The Petaluma Neighborhood Association in 2012 appealed the Friedman’s Improvement-anchored shopping center, citing concerns over traffic impacts and pedestrian safety. The group withdrew its challenge after the developer, Merlone Geier, agreed to additional traffic calming measures and donations to Petaluma community organizations.
The traffic improvements include three new curb ramps and a marked crosswalk with flashing beacons on Professional Drive at Rushmore Avenue, two radar feedback signs displaying motorists’ speed on Rainier Avenue, and new crosswalk markings on Rainier Avenue at Maria Drive.
The $95,000 project was awarded to Coastside Concrete and Construction of Santa Rosa at Monday’s Petaluma City Council meeting.
Janice Cader Thompson, a former city councilwoman who started the Petaluma Neighborhood Association, said the traffic calming measures on Rainier Avenue are a benefit to the city.
“It will all be a benefit,” she said. “Any improvement where you can slow traffic down will help.”
The traffic improvements were set to be discussed last month, but were postponed to give Cader Thompson time to review the measures. She said that she met with city officials on Rainier Avenue to talk about the improvements and was satisfied that they would help the neighborhood.
She said that city officials talked about a future crosswalk at Rainier and Acadia. Last month, Cader Thompson suggested narrowing Rainier from four to two lanes, but this week backed off calling for a so-called road diet on the street, saying that the planned improvements should be sufficient.
“Let’s see how the flashing lights work as far as slowing down traffic,” she said. “There has to be a way to slow traffic down, and hopefully that will be accomplished.”
The traffic enhancements cost $80,000, according to an estimate. An additional $15,000 in street maintenance funds will go toward repaving the intersection at Rainier Avenue and Maria Drive.
Construction is scheduled to begin this month and be completed in August. Meanwhile, the city council took steps to extend Rainier Avenue at the west end. The road, which currently dead-ends at Highway 101, has long been planned as a future crosstown connector.
The council on Monday discussed purchasing several parcels along Petaluma Boulevard North, where the Rainier extension would terminate. Those discussions were held in closed session to allow officials to talk about real estate transactions. The council reported taking no action on the issue.
The Rainier extension hinges on Caltrans widening and raising Highway 101 to allow an underpass for the road. That $85 million project is currently unfunded.
(Contact Matt Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.)