[caption id="attachment_12806" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Architectural rendering of West End Village (click for larger image)"][/caption]
SANTA ROSA – Another phase of a planned “urban village” in the Railroad Square area of downtown Santa Rosa received approval from not only the city Planning Commission but also a group advocating the reworking of streets and land-use priorities to better accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians.
The commission voted 7-0 on April 23 to approve the environmental document, use permit and tentative map for West End Village, a 42-unit development planned for a nearly two-acre slender property sandwiched between the railroad tracks and Wilson Street and running from Eighth to Ninth streets.
The project has gone through seven revisions of the tentative map in the 16 months since it was first reviewed by the city Design Review Board, mainly to address the evolving Bike & Pedestrian Plan during that time, according to Rick Deringer, a consultant for Sonoma-based Odyssey Development.
The project originally was designed to accommodate class 2 bike lanes, which have striping and signage on the pavement to delineate them from the lanes of traffic. The city’s existing Bike & Pedestrian Plan calls for a class 2 bike lane on Wilson from Third Street to College Avenue.
“The general problem with class 2 bike lanes is one side of the street would have no parking,”
Mr. Deringer said. “We designed both sides of the street with a 40-foot-wide right of way to accommodate parking and bike lanes.”
Odyssey is coordinating a multiphase redevelopment of several acres of surrounding dilapidated or shuttered industrial and retail properties, including a possible phase across Wilson from West End Village. Planning for both sides of the street allowed for design of street parking as well as a class 3 bike route, which has pavement striping as well as signage to direct bikers from one segment of a route to the next. Class 3 lanes are what some have advocated in a revision to the city bike policy due to be released this spring as part of an update to the General Plan.
The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, which is advocating a dramatic change in downtown land-use planning to encourage greater use of bicycles and public transit, spoke in favor of the West End Village project at the Planning Commission meeting.
The group also supports a compromise in the city plan for bike lanes on Wilson to allow for street parking for patrons to Railroad Square businesses, according to Executive Director Christine Culver. Instead of having bike lanes extend north on Wilson from Third Street, the coalition advocates the lanes start at Sixth.
“That makes it little less complicated because of the historic buildings and property lines,” she said.
The overall development Odyssey is assembling could have more than 200 housing units and is envisioned to have units ready in time for the projected start of passenger train service to the nearby station by 2013.
A 73-unit phase, called DeTurk Winery Village after the historic building, already is approved. However, the West End Village project likely would be built first because each of the four buildings could be built and occupied individually, according to Mr. Deringer.