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November 11, 2019
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City of RP Updates

Don Schwartz
Traffic improvement on the way
October 18, 2019

Residents have identified traffic congestion as their #1 concern in Rohnert Park. And the intersections around Golf Course Dr. near Highway 101 are often cited as particular problems. I’m pleased to let you know that we are working to add a left turn lane from Golf Course Drive onto Redwood Drive. We expect this to help traffic flow more smoothly through this intersection. 

We continue to pursue other ways of improving traffic flow by better coordinating the timing of our traffic lights along our busiest streets, such as Rohnert Park Expressway. 

There is considerable work underway in our downtown area as crews install new water and sewer lines. This work will support future development of the entire downtown area, including the Station Avenue property (former State Farm site) along with others. We expect the work to be completed in Feb. of next year. We appreciate your patience during this time. 

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In the early morning of Thurs., Oct. 10, we all let out a sigh of relief as the predicted “hazardous” winds died down. We’d like to take this opportunity to disseminate what we as a city did to help safeguard our residents and community.

We were notified Mon., Oct 7, by PG&E of a planned PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff due to a major wind event. The forecast indicated an increase in the risk of wildfire – high wind speed, low humidity and high temperatures. We were informed that a significant portion of our community would likely be impacted by the electric outage event; therefore, the Director of Emergency Services/City Manager declared the existence of a local emergency. What does the “declaration of the existence of a local emergency” really mean? As a government agency when a ‘local emergency’ is declared, it not only serves as an official communication tool, it also helps the city more readily access support that might otherwise be delayed or not financially compensated for. 

The proclamation of a local emergency:

Gives public employees and governing bodies certain legal immunities for emergency actions taken (i.e. can protect the city against a lawsuit).

Enables local agencies to request state assistance.

Authorizes the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to administer a disaster assistance program that provides financial assistance from the state for costs incurred by local governments as a result of a disaster event. 

Provides for reimbursement of costs associated with emergency activities. 

Allows the city manager to designate by local ordinance curfews and necessary measures to protect public health and safety.

On Tues, Oct 8, the city opened its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the main Public Safety building at 500 City Center Dr. The EOC, when fully staffed, embodies 31 cross-department staff handling a myriad of emergency related duties. The EOC staff are responsible for the mitigation, preparedness, planning, coordination of response, and recovery activities related to a Rohnert Park emergency. In addition to our EOC staff, we had extra police officers, fire engines and public works staff on the streets.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the residents, business owners and city staff members for their patience and extra efforts. We understand that many people were getting prepared and helping neighbors and friends. Local businesses had increased demands for emergency preparedness supplies. Staff were called to perform additional duties, including some who stayed in the EOC all night to respond quickly in case a fire broke out in the windy conditions. We’re grateful for our village. We hope that, although this event was an inconvenience, it helped us and our residents better prepare for when the next disaster hits.

As always, stay safe and be kind to each other.