Here is a collection of questions and answers about the 

"We Support Complete Streets for Petaluma" Declaration


Q: Who will pay for this work? Can Petaluma afford it?

A: Surprisingly cost-effective when done in conjunction with already-planned and funding street resurfacing projects. Measure U. Inflation Reduction Act. Etc.

Q: Won’t road diets create traffic jams?

A: Not true when traffic volumes below a certain level, which is part of design process. What are documented results nationwide and for Petaluma Blvd.?

Q: Will my business/family/Board Members) lose parking spaces?.

A: The City has been careful to balance the need for private parking in the public right-of-way with the overall benefits of the project. Areas with high utilization of street parking (high density) and scant off-street parking are low priority for lane reallocation. Petaluma has plenty of opportunities to greatly increase active transportation usage and expand the low-stress network in locations where on-street parking utilization is low and off-street parking opportunities are high, D Street being a good example.)

Q: Why do this when no one uses the bike lanes we have?

A: They don’t use it when it feels unsafe. When it feels safe - a result of good complete streets design - they will, as has been shown by communities large and small across America. Survey data showing 60% of people say they will bike when they have protected bike lanes, etc.

Q: Aren’t traffic circles dangerous?

A: Statistics (e.g.), and common sense (once you learn the simple rules: yield to left when entering, others entering must yield to your), they enable smooth flow of traffic without risk of others speeding through intersections, running stop signals, etc.

Q: How do Complete Streets help City meet climate goals

A: 60% emissions

Q: xxx

A: xxx

Traffic-Calming Devices

Asphalt art: Painting of the roadway surfaces, typically done by the local community, results in reduced vehicle speeds. 

Changes in pavement types: Similar to the effect of Asphalt Art, variations in roadway surfaces put drivers on alert and result in reduced vehicle speeds.

Chicanes: When the roadway ahead is not clearly visible, drivers tend to drive more slowly. Chicanes are intentional wiggles in an otherwise straight roadway. The wiggles are perfect places to plant trees or locate a community gathering place.  

Corner bulb-outs: A narrowing of the roadway at intersections that reduces the crossing distance for pedestrians and reduces the turning radius, thereby reducing vehicle speeds. Mid-block crosswalks can be treated in a similar way.   

Curb extensions narrow the roadway visually and physically, which creates shorter, safer crossings for pedestrians and makes space available for street furniture, benches, plantings, and street trees. A curb extension can be used as a “gateway” treatment to alert motorists that they are entering a slower zone or non-street area.

Edge/Advisory Lane: A narrow two-way vehicle traffic lane that is striped only at the outside edges. Outside the advisory lane are edge lanes for bicyclists where motorists may pass other vehicles after yielding to non-motorized road users.

Mini-roundabout: A small, raised island in the center of a residential intersection for reduction of traffic speeds.

Narrow travel lanes: In the past, wide travel lanes were thought to increase safety. Recent studies show that narrower travel lanes result in reduced vehicle speeds and fewer collisions. On our collector streets and arterials, 10 feet is generally adequate. The recent street improvements on B Street in downtown Petaluma feature 10-foot travel lanes. 10 feet is plenty. 

Yield streets:  Low-volume, low-speed (mostly) residential streets where overall traffic lane width does not allow two vehicles to pass. Vehicle pullouts are provided so that vehicles can easily pull to the side and yield to oncoming vehicles. It is the physical configuration of the roadway, not the posted speed limit, that keeps traffic speeds low (less than 15 mph) and keeps the streets safe. [Source: Urban Street Design Guide, National Association of City Transportation Officials]

Roundabouts or traffic circles move traffic more steadily and smoothly than intersections with timed traffic lights. They continue to function during power outages. Their smaller cousins are mini-roundabouts.

Street trees: Motorists perceive tree-lined streets to be narrower, and therefore drive more slowly. Plus these same trees improve air quality, provide shade, and enhance well-being.