For all its green leanings, Sebastopol doesn't have a single bicycle lane, which chagrined officials say is simply because its streets are too narrow.
“It is very ironic,” said City Councilman Larry Robinson, an avid cyclist. “I think we would see Sebastopol as a much greener place if we had bicycle facilities, there would be more people getting around town and do shopping if they felt more comfortable and safe.”
Sebastopol is the only Sonoma County city without a bike lane, even though it has the Joe Rodota Trail multi-purpose path coming in from Santa Rosa and the West County Trail going out to Forestville.
Designated bike routes and a short stretch of bike-pedestrian path behind Analy High School connect the two trails, but there is nothing else for bicycles in the city.
“Sebastopol is this go-green, nuke-free place and there is no place to ride a bike,” said Nathan Deurloo of Santa Rosa, who had been riding on a sidewalk going onto the Rodota trail.
The city is at the intersection of Highway 12 and Highway 116, and Caltrans for the past 20 years has steadfastly refused to allow bike lanes on the two state roads, although that may be changing, said Sue Kelly, the city's engineering director.
And Sebastopol's city streets, which were laid out 100 years ago, are narrow and often chopped up as they wend through business and residential areas, providing no space for bike lanes, Kelly said.
The city hired W-Trans, a Santa Rosa consultant, to come up with recommendations for a bicycle network. The $50,000 cost was paid with traffic impact fees.
W-Trans has proposed a number of streets for bike lanes and some as designated to be shared by bicycles and vehicles.
It would require removing parking from one side of the street in some cases, and in the removal of a median strip or removing a street lane in two others.
“We are studying the feasibility of the network, we do not have the answers yet,” Kelly said. “The big one will be whether we remove parking in various areas. That will be a tough decision.”