The Rohnert Park City Council directed its staff Tuesday to lay the groundwork on a plan to expand the intersection up to Keiser Avenue to help handle the increased traffic brought on by the new University District.
A roundabout was the alternative, which was an option the council directed its staff to explore last year. Unfortunately, both roundabout options the staff presented, one as a double and the other as a single, seemed an ill fit. The council opted for a more traditional stoplight in the roundabouts place.
The total estimated cost for the expansion comes to about $2.3 million. The proposed expansion requires a minimal amount of right of way, .15 acres, and is the least intrusive of the three options presented to the council. That’s important considering the stretch of Snyder affected lays right in front of Lawrence Jones Middle School. All of Snyder north of the Keiser Avenue intersection would remain the same.
“As much as I’m known as a proponent of roundabouts, I also understand the complexity of that location,” Councilmember Jake Mackenzie said. “I have no problem with the staff’s recommendation.”
At that same meeting, the council received an update on the existing conditions in Rohnert Park and how they pertain to the city’s upcoming new General Plan.
The news is mostly good. But there are a few glaring holes in the city’s plan at the moment-primarily a lack of industrial zoning. At this present juncture, Rohnert Park has about a 4 percent vacancy in its currently developed industrial areas and there’s about 44 acres of land set aside for more. Unfortunately that doesn’t quite match up with the expected demand, which the planners estimate will top out at 63 by 2040.
Rohnert Park also faces a bit of a commuting problem. According to the presentation, about 12,400 people drive into Rohnert Park for work and at that same time over 18,000 people live in Rohnert Park and commute outside of it. Only 4,600 live and work within the city. That many people moving into and out of town every day certainly adds to the traffic and an important focus for the 2040 General Plan is to provide more opportunities for Rohnert Park citizens to work within the city.
“If anybody is listening and asking, ‘why are they already doing this when they don’t need to do anything until June of 2020?’” Mayor Pam Stafford said. “This is a huge process. It’s a great undertaking, so to anyone that might not understand the general plan process, we started a while ago because it takes such a long time.”
As if that weren’t enough, the council issued a certificate of recognition to Barbara Novak for her extensive contributions to the Girl Scouts.
Novak has been involved with the Girl Scouts for over 65 years now, 48 of which were in Sonoma County. She got her start after high school when a few young girls needed a lifeguard for their mariner program. Novak stepped in and after that she was hooked.
“I have had so much fun—with my daughter originally and then all the generations after that,” Novak said with teary eyes. “I would have never backpacked or done somethings like that had it not been for the girls. It was a lot of fun. Many, many, many fun campouts, and hikes and trips, and...and everything.”
Unfortunately, Novak has run into a few difficulties. Last year her outreach troop lost one of its leaders and the Girl Scouts require that each group have at least two. Novak has had difficulties finding her replacement. Never one to be daunted, Novak has put together a Girl Scouts astronomy group and they plan on meeting for a Star Party in January.