Hazard to walkers

Hazard to walkers — The Crocker Bridge on East 1st Street will be improved with a recent grant, adding pedestrian and bicycle access that separates bikes and walkers from motor vehicles.

Bridge to gain bike and pedestrian safety

The Crocker Bridge on East 1st Street will be safer, after a project to add a pedestrian and bicycle passage alongside the bridge was funded last week.

On May 8 it was announced that $26 million would be allocated for transportation projects across Sonoma County by the Sonoma County Transportation Authority.

“It’s vital that we get these projects funded and keep upgrading our transportation system,” said David Rabbitt, chair of SCTA and Sonoma County Supervisor in a statement. “The county will be able to pave more than 13 miles of roads, add our second all electric bus and build two important bike and pedestrian bridges.”

According to the SCTA statement, the list of projects was proposed by local jurisdictions and identified by SCTA as the best opportunities to develop safe, efficient and healthy transportation options. The funding is derived from federal gas tax, vehicle license fees and state sales tax. Municipalities in the north end of the county are reaping the benefits of this allocation, with $3 million going to Cloverdale to create a bike and pedestrian passage on Crocker Bridge (known to locals as the 1st Street Bridge), $600,000 for Healdsburg for continued work on Healdsburg Avenue and the roundabout and another $3 million for Windsor for the intersection of Windsor River Road and Windsor Road, including addition of a roundabout.

“Sonoma County generally does well when it comes to bringing in outside funding and I can’t wait to see the improvements like the bike and pedestrian access on Crocker Bridge in Cloverdale” said Carol Russell, Vice Chair of the SCTA and city council member from Cloverdale in a statement.

The Crocker/1st Street bridge project in Cloverdale has been a project first conceived 15 years ago, but getting the funding to come through has been slow going. The two-lane bridge currently accommodates only cars; people walking or riding bikes have no choice but to do so in the traffic lane to get across.

“A 15-year problem moves towards a solution,” said Supervisor James Gore in a statement.

“Trying to get funding for this goes back over a decade. The money’s been very tight,” said Cloverdale Vice Mayor Joe Palla. “But we were able to get that application in and get the funding. We are very excited about it — in our city it really impacts the youth who have to come into town for school, or work, or other activities.”

Palla said that he hasn’t seen any designs for the changes yet, but that his understanding is that the bridge will be widened “to create a safe, dedicated area for pedestrians and bicyclists.”

SCTA was created in 1990 and is governed by a 12-member board representing each of the nine cities in the county, as well as the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. It manages funding from several sources, including the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) which comes from federal gas taxes and the Transportation Development Act which gets its funding from a quarter of a cent sales tax. SCTA also receives funds through the Transportation Fund for Clean Air, but most of the north county is not within the air district boundaries and is not eligible for those funds.

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