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Public weighs in on Santa Rosa Highway 101 pedestrian crossing

A proposed pedestrian and bicycle crossing across Highway 101 is mostly designed and funded, but the public weighed in Wednesday night on a few more odds and ends that still need to be addressed.

Feedback came during a 90-minute online meeting where officials updated attendees on the $14 million bridge that will link Elliott and Edwards avenues in Santa Rosa.

No one doubted the bridge would be a welcome addition to the city, but several attendees stressed there’s room for improvement.

Common suggestions were: Steps need to be taken to prevent the homeless from congregating on and around the bridge. Artwork should be installed on the structure and safety measures are necessary if pedestrian and bicycling will increase in the area.

“The bridge will be part of a network as a whole so I think it’s very important traffic calming is added to these streets,” said a caller, Dylan P.

City staff say the project has been planned since the 1990s and is already a part of the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.

The final design shows a 15.5-foot-wide cable-stayed bridge with two bicycle lanes, one pedestrian lane and ramps on each side of the freeway instead of spiral staircases.

Construction is scheduled to begin in October 2023 and last about two years.

Project officials emphasized many issues would be addressed.

Santa Rosa police are expected to patrol the area regularly and road improvements are on tap, including installation of way-finding signs.

Meanwhile, the project will go before Santa Rosa’s Art in Public Places Committee in February to discuss art possibilities.

City Supervising Engineer Grant Bailey reiterated that the city’s Design Review Board had already determined the bridge itself was artwork and that anything else would be added to its landing areas.

Several people agreed that any artwork should be representative of the community and there were no shortage of suggestions that images of Peanuts characters should be included.

But one attendee, Judy Kennedy, countered that the bridge is supposed to represent Santa Rosa’s commitment to clean transportation and address climate change. Peanuts characters don’t show that, she said.

“I do want to see art and I don’t want to see Snoopy,“ she added.

You can reach Staff Writer Colin Atagi at colin.atagi@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @colin_atagi

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