Friday, July 21, 2017

SMART multi-use pathway: construction and safety concerns

Officials with Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit are advancing proposals to fund construction of multi-use pathway segments in Rohnert Park and Petaluma (as reported by Derek Moore, Press Democrat).

As a cyclist, I look forward to filled-in segments along the pedestrian and bicycle corridor. We’ve attempted to walk from Rohnert Park to Santa Rosa, only to have the corridor disappear.

And it’s more and more difficult to locate information about the multi-use pathway on the SMART website; the current impression given by the landing page and its navigational options is that passenger-rail is the ONLY component of the SMART project. I had to do a search to pull up the latest map for multi-use pathway construction.

But even with improvements that fill in the missing segments, I am not sure I would risk traveling parts of the corridor by myself.

Among comments on Facebook in response to sharing of this article by the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition: I share Annie Sherman’s concern about the presence of fences, which essentially “trap” travelers along segments of the corridor.

We’ve seen people loitering and seen evidence of encampments along isolated areas of the corridor.

In matters of safety, I’d go beyond the lighting and safety call-boxes that Annie Sherman advocates, and urge on-bicycle patrols by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, the Santa Rosa Police Department and other agencies.

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