These days Santa Rosa's Humboldt Street would probably be more aptly named Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Street.
For those who travel it, or live there, it's become a street with a dual personality since the launch in August of a six-month test as the city's first official bike boulevard — a route shared equally by cyclists and motorists.
Keven <NO1>(cq)<NO>Brown said he used to ride his bike alongside that of his 8-year-old daughter from their Hidden Valley home to the downtown library, choir practice or his family's business, Corrick's.
"We used Humboldt a lot. It is a direct route," he said.
But he said it doesn't make sense now that the 1.5-mile stretch of Humboldt from Fifth Street to Lewis Road has been, at least temporarily, converted into an experimental bike boulevard where stop signs at several intersections have been removed and replaced with traffic roundabouts along with other changes he believes make the road more dangerous to ride.
"The roundabouts seem precarious. I love the idea of roundabouts but the area is too small for good visibility," he said, noting he sees motorists and cyclists shooting around the traffic circles without looking, sometimes speeding.
"It seemed it was much safer when there were stop signs," he said.
Others claim the safety issue along the 15-block straightaway is further complicated by the narrow, tree-lined street where long lines of parked cars make it somewhat of an obstacle course.
And, they say, the danger is heightened at night when most street lights are doused, part of a cost-cutting measure that ultimately will result in half the city's 16,000 street lights being turned off.
But Spencer Street resident and avid cyclist David Cooper sees the other side of Humboldt's personality.
"I love it. I seek Humboldt out because it is receptive to cyclists and I find it safer," he said.
"I don't find the roundabouts to be a problem. You have to be sensitive to the fact automobiles are on Humboldt and that cars might be in the vicinity. That's not a problem, you just have to watch out," he said.
"The responsibility of a bicyclist is to watch out for cars and vice versa," he said.
The project involves temporary, stanchion-lined traffic circles at four intersections — Spencer, McConnell, Carr and Silva avenues — and the use of stanchions to extend sidewalks into the streets at some intersections to slow traffic and make it easier for pedestrians to cross.
Yield signs, painted outlines of cyclists on street pavement and street signs denoting Humboldt as a "bicycle boulevard" also remind motorists it is now a shared street.
Humboldt has been long designated in the city's general plan as a bike boulevard where cyclists would be entitled to share the lane with drivers rather than be shunted to the side.
The shared concept requires that motorists and cyclists follow each other in single file but allows drivers to pass bike riders when there is no oncoming traffic. To reinforce that concept, the raised dots that divided Humboldt into two lanes have been removed.
Humboldt Street homeowner Diane Whitmire and the owners of Bill's Friendly Market have collected 225 signatures, mostly from neighborhood residents, expressing opposition to the experiment.
Whitmire said Humboldt "is too bloody narrow" to accommodate free-flowing, equal sharing of the road, a narrowness complicated by parked cars on both sides and garbage cans once a week.