Successful Advocacy for Safer Roads

It’s easy to complain about problems we experience on the road; when progress is made, it’s useful to reflect on the actions that led to success.  Here are a few thoughts on a recent win.

The city of Santa Rosa has been applying a slurry seal on Petaluma Hill Road.  An SRCC member sent out an email two weeks ago about problems with the project; the re-striping ended up NARROWING the southbound bike lane – already overgrown with weeds – essentially eliminating it.  Since then, the vegetation has been cut back, “share the road” signs posted to alert drivers that cyclists will take the lane, and the city engineer overseeing the project has promised that the striping will be corrected within the next week or two. What factors led to this quick response from the city, that we should keep in mind for future issues?

Communication within the cycling community. Many people received the original email alert and forwarded it to others.

Timing. It REALLY helped that we all jumped on this immediately, before the city had fully signed off on the project.

Reporting the problem to the right agency. Multiple people reported the issue to the city’s Transportation & Public Works department. Reports included a clear description of the problem and its location, photos, a request for specific action. (It’s SO easy to just grumble amongst ourselves!) Check out our list of apps, websites and phone numbers for reporting hazards to all our local jurisdictions.

Persistence. Not only did multiple people report the problem and share it with other cyclists, the complaint was sent a few links up the “food chain.”

Follow up. The final phase will consist of checking the location in a couple weeks to see that it has indeed been corrected, and communicating with the city if it hasn’t.  “Thank yous” are also important when city staff do the right thing!