05/06/2022 - City Manager Darrin Jenkins: Traffic Reduction
Posted on 05/06/2022

Residents often cite traffic congestion as a main concern. We continue to implement a variety of innovative technologies and tactics to address this challenge. We are putting measures in place to keep you safe while getting you where you need to go.

The City has implemented various traffic signal technologies throughout town. We use a variety of advanced systems, controllers, and video detection software to improve the flow of traffic. 

These systems detect and track oncoming cars, cyclists, pedestrians, and emergency vehicles. Timing of lights are then adjusted based on this data to optimize traffic flow. Our technicians are able to update thirty-two of these signals remotely. This allows us to adjust signals in response to changes in traffic flow.

Battery backup systems are installed in 28 signals. These batteries keep traffic lights up and running during blackouts. During outages, signals revert to red flashing lights and quickly return to normal operation when power resumes. 

As you know we did a project over a year ago to add some flashing yellow arrows to signals to reduce waiting at red lights.  We are now upgrading another dozen turn signals with flashing yellow arrows. These allow drivers to turn left when there is no oncoming traffic instead waiting for a green light. This helps to get you where you want to go more quickly. 

You can see many of these systems in action at Rohnert Park Expressway and Golf Course Drive. In these traffic-heavy areas, the signals capture real-time traffic demand during the busiest times of day. The data is used to time lights and increase traffic flow. Since these technologies were installed, we’ve seen traffic flow more smoothly.

For the last several months eastbound Rohnert Park Expressway over the freeway was heavily impacted by the closure of Commerce at Southwest Boulevard. This closure rerouted a lot of freeway traffic to the off ramp at RPX.  Even the best traffic signal programming can’t deal with such an influx of additional motorists.  Thankfully, that closure should be over by the time this is published.

In addition to traffic signal technologies, the City has other programs to decrease traffic and increase road safety. 

The Local Road Safety Plan identifies accident-prone roadways and develops strategies to make them safer. The plan is then used to create a cost benefit analysis on how much money can be saved by decreasing car accidents. The report is submitted to a federal highway safety program for approval and funding.

The City has many other infrastructure projects in the works to address traffic. We are conducting a feasibility study for a pedestrian bridge across the 101 freeway. The goal of this study is to create safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists and decrease traffic.

We will also soon complete our first roundabout at Southwest Blvd and Commerce Blvd. Roundabouts move traffic through intersections faster than standard traffic signals.  Roundabouts are safer, less expensive than intersections, and more environmentally friendly. 

We plan to build the future downtown Rohnert Park in ways that mitigate traffic. This includes making it user-friendly for bikes and pedestrians. The future downtown is located next to the SMART station. This should encourage some visitors to travel by train rather than car.

We are dedicated to addressing your traffic concerns. Sign up to receive traffic updates by email at rpcity.org/newsletter. We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress.
The Rohnert Park Update columns are also available on The Community Voice.