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Notes on Howard St

2023-09-11 01:19:33.129312+02 by Dan Lyke 0 comments

The City of Petaluma asked for some feedback on the Howard Street Improvement project. I'm posting my feedback in various other places too. Since switching dentists I don't ride up that street beyond Washington often, but I do find myself riding on the stretch east/south of Washington surprisingly often.

Starting from where 6th St turns into Howard, that west bound Howard right turn on to Liberty St just past A St needs a bulb-out with a pass-through for cyclists who choose to turn right. A cyclist trying to go straight on Howard is taking their life into their hands as drivers cut right at full speed.

The intersection at Washington Street is terrifying. There's no good reason why Washington needs to be 2 lanes here and narrow shortly afterwards. Taking the available space and going to 1 lane with a pedestrian island would dramatically improve the sense of those long diagonal crosswalks.

We just got back from walking the stretch from Washington to Kent this afternoon. During the time we were there we probably saw 15-20 motor vehicles go through these intersections. None of them came to a full stop. This suggests that all of those intersections could be replaced by traffic circles or other designs that slowed drivers and made them proceed cautiously instead of stop signs that everyone is ignoring anyway.

And we'd love to have a traffic engineer explain why that crosswalk at Oak St across Howard is diagonal like that. Seems like it stops eastbound traffic long before a driver there can see what's actually happening in the intersection, and keeps pedestrians downhill from the entrance to Oak Hill Park, but I'm sure there are factors I don't see.

And, of course, there are sharrows. We've known for a decade and a half that sharrows anywhere but on the left side of the lane (which in this case would be the center of the pavement) kill cyclists. If there are going to be sharrows put down as part of the rework, they should be on the left side of the travel lane.

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