Caltrans OKs new look on Broadway through Sonoma

Lane reduction paves way for bike paths, shorter pedestrian crossings.|

New yellow lines on Broadway have the green light – as Caltrans has approved a request by the Sonoma City Council to restripe the thoroughfare’s approach to Napa Street in a new configuration.

Broadway’s new look will include a reduction in vehicle lanes between MacArthur and Napa streets to make room for the addition of bike lanes in both north- and south-bound directions.

The changes to Broadway’s transportation lanes have been in the cards for more than a year, as Caltrans offered to complete the work as part of its $7 million Highway 12 repaving project planned for the fall of 2021.

Crews have been repaving sections of the highway from Vallejo Avenue in the Springs to Napa Street in downtown Sonoma since work began in September. But the City of Sonoma’s request to more fully reconfigure the design of the northern stretch of Broadway required approval from Caltrans, which oversees the state highway system. The transportation agency gave its approval earlier this month.

While calls to increase pedestrian and bike safety on the thoroughfare had been ongoing since 2020, the injury of a pedestrian last April in the Andrieux Street crosswalk, a vehicle collision which also killed the woman’s dog, placed renewed emphasis on narrowing Broadway’s pedestrian crossings and adding buffered bike lanes adjacent to the sidewalks.

On Aug. 2, the Sonoma City Council voted 3-1 to request a design that reduced the southbound direction of Broadway between Napa and MacArthur streets from two lanes to one, while adding bike lanes on both sides.

Northbound, for most of the MacArthur-to-Napa stretch, the road will go from two lanes and a left-hand turn lane down to one lane and a left-hand turn lane.

The bike lanes will be further protected from vehicles by “buffered” striping, which creates additional separation between vehicles and cyclists. And in the midblock portion of the road, from Maple to McDonell, vehicle parking lanes will be set between moving traffic and the bike lanes.

Overall, the changes in the lanes will allow Caltrans to reduce the length of the crossing at MacArthur Street from 60 to 36 feet; and at Napa Street from 70 to 48 feet.

In August, City staff estimated the cost to the restriping at $41,700.

City Councilmember Kelso Barnett was the lone vote against reconfiguring Broadway, saying in August that the time the decision seemed rushed.

“While Caltrans approving this restriping plan isn’t what i wanted for Christmas, the good news is that it’s just paint, and the scheme can always be modified or changed back in the future,” Barnett wrote in an email to the Index-Tribune this week.

Caltrans has already striped the northernmost third of the project, between Vallejo and Riverside Drive, according to Jeff Weiss, the agency’s public information officer.

“Although the schedule is not set in stone, we will probably begin striping the middle third – from Riverside Drive to the West Napa Street/Broadway junction – in early December,” said Weiss.

Prior to striping, Caltrans will pre-mark the locations for striping, called “cat tracking,” on Broadway, a process expected to be completed by the end of November, according to Sonoma Public Works Director Colleen Ferguson.

“Caltrans and the City are currently working together to delineate which portions of the restriping of Broadway the City is responsible for and which portions Caltrans will undertake,” Ferguson told the Index-Tribune. A more concrete timeline and estimated completion date will be set once the scope of work is determined, she said.

The striping of the Broadway portion, from West Napa to Leveroni Road, should be completed by the end of December, said Weiss.

However, cautioned Weiss, the weather can seriously affect the schedule. The roads are lined with “thermoplastic striping,” he said, “which cannot be applied to pavement when outside temperatures deep below 50 degrees.”

The lane striping is just the first part of the project, stressed Weiss. Once the lanes are configured, a follow-up crew begins work on striping crosswalks and “places where words will be spelled out on the pavement.” He said that work hasn’t been scheduled, but Caltrans’ goal is to have it completed in early January.

Email Jason Walsh at

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.