In the spring of 2018, the closure of a large homeless encampment in the Dollar Store parking lot in Roseland resulted in the moving of many individuals to the adjoining Joe Rodota Trail. Many cyclists stopped using the trail due to safety concerns, and SCBC member Bill Petty was assaulted by a camper. Over 750 people signed our petition calling for action and the encampment was eventually cleaned up.
Homeless individuals have been moving back onto the trail again; after multiple reports from members about problems they’d been experiencing, on September 16 we contacted both the County and the City (who tend to point fingers at each other) but the situation has continued to deteriorate. (The trail is under the ownership and management of Sonoma County Regional Parks but is within Santa Rosa City Limits, hence the overlapping jurisdictional issues.)
Trail users have reported public intoxication, defecation, drug use, littering, verbal harassment, physical assault, and campers physically blocking the passage. Many have stopped using the trail, including experienced and otherwise fearless riders.
There are legal constraints as to how the campers can be evicted, but there is still a lot of room for law enforcement to intervene in some of the more egregious behaviors.
On October 21, Sonoma County Regional Parks installed signs on the Joe Rodota Trail advising cyclists to take alternate routes. They did not suggest any specific detour; our concern is that any alternate route includes high-speed, high-injury roads such as Fulton, Stony Point, and Occidental Roads.
We addressed the Board of Supervisors on October 22 about this issue; a special meeting originally set for October 29 has been rescheduled for NOVEMBER 19.
We will continue to monitor the situation and report back. In the meantime, please sign our petition (which will be delivered to both the city and county on November 29):
- Camp crowding Santa Rosa trail is new flashpoint over homeless enforcement. Press Democrat, October 19.
- Editorial: A public trail is no place for a tent city. Press Democrat, October 20.
- Homeless Encampment Takes Over Neighborhood Trail In Santa Rosa. KPIX Channel 5, October 21.