Council also discusses Measure V survey
A sign plan that will make it easier for both locals and visitors to navigate around town on bike is coming to Healdsburg.
Healdsburg City Council voted unanimously on Feb. 3 to direct staff to continue with the implementation of a bike wayfinding sign plan. They also provided unanimous direction for city staff to explore bike parking options that would meet bike parking demand.
“A wayfinding plan is a technique to get bicyclists to be aware of destinations to go around town and to recommend routes to use, maybe to get them away from busy roads, or to maybe use Foss Creek Trail, which is safer for children,” explained Michael Jones, principal designer at Alta Planning and Design.
“You don't want signs on every block,” he said. “Really only where they are needed.”
For instance a sign could direct people to the Foss Creek Trail and note the distance to the trail.
In terms of what the signs would look like, community input suggested a more rustic-style sign with curved edges and modern graphics.
"In the end the community identity of Healdsburg, but incorporate modern-style graphics," Jones said.
Sign implementation will be rolled out in stages and the first phase will include the installation of 30 signs focused around the Foss Creek Pathway, the Plaza and at the Zagster bike share locations.
When asked by Vice Mayor Evelyn Mitchell, public works director Larry Zimmer said the Zagster bikes are getting quite a lot of use, especially at the Hotel Trio and Best Western locations.
Other sign locations could include areas identified by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and spots suggested by locals.
In terms of how quickly signage could be implemented, Zimmer said the first phase could be completed as soon as summer 2020 since there’s some funding set aside from Measure V for bike projects.
During the year-long Alta study and concept design process, which amounted to around $40,000, Alta also looked at bike parking.
“Part of our scope was to also look at bicycle parking around town and understand in terms of if the inventory is sufficient or in the right location, or if it is the right type,” Jones said.
Similar to the wayfinding effort, city staff suggested expanding parking with a multi-stepped approach.
According to the city agenda packet, the first step will be to modify city ordinances to more clearly define bike parking requirements for new construction.
The other approach addresses current businesses and developments — it includes adding bike parking either through a program where the city would pay for the bike rack and installation and the business would pay for upkeep, or through an encroachment permit to allow a business to install its own rack.
Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Eris Weaver said however the city decides to add more racks, they need to pay close attention to what kind of bike racks they choose.
“I have a bug up my butt about bike racks,” Weaver said during public comment.
Weaver continued, “The best bike rack is the simplest one that is the inverted 'U.' You can put a bike on either side of it, the bike has two points of contact and any kind of bike can go on it. One that seems to be popular right now that seems to be really un-useful is the wave. It looks like it should hold more bikes than it really does, but you can't realistically put your bike in there and get a 'U' lock around the frame and around the pole.”
She also said while artistic bike racks may look good, they aren’t functional.
Zimmer said the bike parking project could take longer since staff is still exploring options for adding more parking.
Measure V Survey
Measure V, a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2012, provides funds for city projects such as bike wayfinding to road repaving.
A resident survey of how Measure V funds should be spent was sent out to residents. The city also wants to gauge if the measure would receive continued voter support.
“We want to see where the community’s opinion is,” said Healdsburg Assistant City Manager Joe Irvin, who gave a presentation to council on the survey.
Before this fall’s election the city hopes to release a separate survey in spring 2020 to gauge resident support of the measure ahead of Election Day.
An online and telephone survey will be conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3).
According to Irvin, the questionnaire will be 20 minutes in length and will include a maximum of 60 questions. The telephone interviews will be conducted in both English and Spanish.
The sample size is 400 voters who are likely to cast their ballot in November.
Following the surveys there will be a complete analysis of the findings as well as a PowerPoint and a presentation of the results.
The cost for the FM3 survey services is $28,000.
According to the agenda packet, “On Jan. 6, 2020, the city council approved a budget amendment via Resolution No. 3-2020 increasing appropriations in the Measure V fund by $28,000 to pay for the Measure V Survey.”
When asked for council feedback and direction on the survey, Councilmember Shaun McCaffery, Vice Mayor Evelyn Mitchell and Mayor Leah Gold all thought 60 questions made it a bit long.
Irivin said there doesn’t have to be 60 questions, although that is the maximum amount that could be asked.
Councilmember David Hagele asked if the survey would look at how Measure V competes with county-wide surveys and Irvin said factors like that would be considered.
Gold asked if the Measure V survey could be a good time to ask locals how they feel about cannabis tax, however, the other four councilmembers agreed that the survey should stick to one topic.
Council directed staff to return with more information about how the survey will look and feel and also requested that a survey consultant provide more information.