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Hail Traffic Control

Why Cotati shouldn't prohibit roundabouts

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Recently, I received a letter from a proponent for Measure U. I did some research on the statements she made, and would like to clarify a few things.

First, this measure would affect all of Cotati, not just the downtown specific plan area mentioned in the letter. Second, the roundabouts that were removed in Pleasanton were built in anticipation of a school project that never came to fruition, and the neighborhood became single-family homes. Once the houses were built, the neighbors complained that the roundabout didn't work, and it was removed. The cost of that was $500,000, which included widening the roadway and putting in a left turn lane. Third, in Santa Rosa, all the roundabouts that the letter said were removed were temporary small traffic circles put in to see if they would work in those locations. They did not for various reasons, and were removed.

Neither of these cities has concluded that roundabouts are not a useful tool to facilitate traffic calming. Both have plans in the works which include roundabouts. On Oct. 3, I spoke to fire chief Frank Treanor about the current status of the plan for the northern part of Old Redwood Highway, and he stated, "The current village concept plan with the proposed city modifications as described by the chief will work for the Rancho Adobe Fire Department."

Only here in Cotati would you find a move to prohibit roundabouts. According to the New York Times, Wisconsin has built about a hundred roundabouts since 2004, and has plans for 52 more in the near future. Maryland is closing in on 200. Roundabouts have been around for a long time and have saved the lives of drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists worldwide. Why would the citizens of Cotati want to take this well-documented safety option off the table for the entire town? It baffles me. If you think they won't work in a particular part of town, then let's have that conversation. Let's keep our options and the dialogue open!

Linell Hardy is a mother, wife, grandmother, volunteer, organizer, entrepreneur and longtime Cotati resident. Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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