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Downtown road diet work nearly finished

  • Workers stand near B Street on Petaluma Boulevard South, where new lane markings were freshly painted. The new lanes mark the near completion of the "road diet" project. (SCOTT MANCHESTER/ FOR THE ARGUS-COURIER)

Work to convert Petaluma Boulevard South from a four-lane to a two-lane road, also known as the “road diet,” reached near completion this week.

Permanent striping was laid down on the Boulevard between East Washington and E streets on Tuesday night, and work on traffic signals was finished Wednesday morning.

“The majority of the work is now completed,” said city Engineer Erica Ahmann Smithies, explaining that some low-impact projects might take place later this summer.

The project, delayed over the winter due to weather and so as not to interfere with holiday shopping, appeared to wrap up smoothly, with the city receiving few calls of complaint. This despite the work taking place on one of Petaluma's main thoroughfares as a new shopping center opened on East Washington Street.

“It's one of those processes you have to go through,” said Marie McCusker, who directs the Petaluma Downtown Association. “The city worked with us around events, tried to take into consideration what was going on as far as timing.”

The changes are intended to ease congestion and make travel safer downtown by creating wider lanes with more parking spaces and more space for cyclists. New turn lanes have also been added.

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