Traffic has always been my number one priority—it is a major drag on the quality of life in our community, as well as a roadblock (pardon the pun!) for growing our economy. In 2018, voters embraced the “parallel roads” strategy: Devlin Road on the westside and Newell Extension on the east. This was a bit of a departure from the 2013 Traffic Plan, which would shift traffic to Highway 29 and expect Caltrans to fix it.
Devlin Road has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we should see construction in 2021. As for the eastside, the question is no longer whether to build the Newell Extension, but how we’re going to do it and how soon?
As Mayor, I will pursue the following three-step strategy to address traffic in general:
Work with our State legislators and regional partners to secure support and funding for Highway 29--our Broadway District.
Work with the County to negotiate financial support for the Newell Extension project--there are several alternatives that might interest the County in supporting our efforts.
Rely on property owners/developers to actually build the critical roadways—this should expedite the process, once funding is secured.
The Newell Extension is not the only solution to deal with traffic. Three other strategies are also needed.
Finish the Westside Connector
Two years ago, I warned about the potential impacts if we did not establish a westside connector between Green Island Road and Eucalyptus. Unfortunately, without effective leadership, much of this time has been lost and we still do not have a concrete plan. Again, we need to work with all the stakeholders to define an acceptable road alignment and then get it completed. That alignment should be both timely and financially viable. We should not have to wait years to finish or spend millions to complete.
Transform the 29 Corridor
This relates to traffic relief and building our economy, but let’s focus on traffic for now. Here are four specific actions to take.
Improve the intersections to increase traffic flow
Build sidewalks and bike paths to make it easier for local residents to skip the auto altogether
Make public transit easier and more convenient; and
Require additional road lane capacity as new development occurs along the highway.
Reduce the amount of traffic altogether
This relates to what’s called Transportation Demand Management (TDM). We learned how viable telecommuting can be as a result of the pandemic—we need to adopt plans that strongly encourage/require businesses to optimize working at home. We also need to work with our industrial businesses to adjust their start/stop times to reduce peak commuter trips. Lastly, we also need to develop more workforce housing, and make sure our workers can live in American Canyon, and vice versa.
Traffic has been a problem for too long. We need a new kind of Mayor who will focus on addressing this issue with specific proposals and actions. And then report that progress to the community on a regular basis. This is what I will do if I am your Mayor.