It's Healdsburg's Only 1-Way Street, But It's a Doozy

Electronic signs installed at Foss Creek Circle.


Healdsburg hopes to break people's two-way habit with new large electronic signs to remind them that Foss Creek Circle is now one-way.

The signs, installed several weeks ago, will be left up until the end of this month, said Marjie Pettus, city manager.

"Foss Creek Circle seems to be a bit of a challenge," Pettus said Wednesday. "We put the electronic signs up because too many people failed to recognize and adhere to the directional signage."

She said that city staff members, including police and field employees, noticed that drivers were inattentive.

"Many were distracted by the use of their cell phones," Pettus said. "I asked for the electronic signs to be placed on the street with the hope that people will pay closer attention."

Before the signs went up, Stefano Giovannoni said he drove especially as he entered the curve past Parkpoint health club.

"Every time I drive to the post office, I fear rounding the 'circle,'" Giovannoni said in an Oct. 23  email. "I usually find one person going the wrong direction –- three times so far this week."

He said he was pleased to see the electronic signs go up a few days later.

"I know they are only a temporary 'training tool' and won't stay up forever, but if they help prevent an accident, especially with the rain coming, then it will be a blessing," Giovannoni said.

"I still suggest that they paint directional arrows on the asphalt of both lanes so that people can tell if the are turning or driving towards an arrow then they are going the wrong way," he said.

Pettus said she has had mixed feedback regarding the one-way street, which went into effect the first week of October.

Although nearly everyone in a Patch poll in August said the one-way should go counter-clockwise, city officials said they had to do it in a clockwise direction because a business on the street could not use its loading dock from the counter-clockwise direction.

"At this point, we will continue to monitor the situation," Pettus said.

What do you think? Post your thoughts below in the comments.

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austin November 15, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Giving out a couple tickets should solve the problem.
susan November 15, 2012 at 02:14 AM
How much is this nonsense costing? Was there any way they could have made better use of city funds?
Christian Kallen November 15, 2012 at 02:31 AM
I just started making the Foss Creek Circle part of my routine. Two times out of three this week, I've encountered cars going the wrong way. Neither driver was on a cell phone. Did anybody do a feng shui or behavioral study of this plan?
Tom November 15, 2012 at 03:38 AM
It is a good thing that we re-elected the traffic engineeringly challenged city council members. I wondered what "doozys" they will come up with next. Should be fun for the wine "taster" to try and figure it out with a heat on.
Ann Carranza November 15, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Yes, this is a doozy. Perhaps the City could rethink this before there is a worse accident. One day last week (Friday, I believe) I encountered not just one car going the wrong way, but two. The first car had absolutely no clue that he (yes, both vehicles were driven by men; no cell phones involved) was going the wrong way. The next time I drove the circle, there was another car going the wrong way. This is a huge problem that could have been solved by an intuitive counter-clockwise one-way street. Yes, I know about the loading dock, but maybe the engineers should have looked at replacing/relocating the dock, instead of creating this fiasco.
Marilyn November 15, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Equally bad is that dreadful idea to put a roundabout at the south end of town. That will be even worse.
Kate Douglas November 15, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I have to agree with Ann--the direction is totally counter-intuitive. I've met people turning in at the north end and others leaving the parking lot just north of the PO and going the wrong way. I actually shouted at one man and pointed in the right direction--he totally ignored me and continued going counter-clockwise. Arrows on the street might help, but changing the direction makes more sense--or going back to two-way. Is the city liable for making stupid decisions? Someone's going to get hurt out there.
Tom November 15, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Can you say dumb idea?
joyce November 15, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Let's decide NOW on what to commit to: keep the one-way going the clockwise direction? Change one-way to counter clockwise direction? Or revert to two-way as it was originally? It'll be that much harder for people to get it right if it stays this way much longer. This situation cannot justify a wait-and-see approach--too much at stake. In my mind, it's a head-on collision waiting to happen.
leslie oberdorfer November 15, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I agree with Ann.It should be a right turn to access the Post Office parking lot and a right turn to exit. The traffic flow should be a consideration. I have also witnessed vehicles going up on the curb trying to enter the mail drop boxes. Very poor design...
Lanny Chase November 15, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Counter clockwise is intuitively the proper direction, as its current pattern is reminiscent of the British Colonies where I have resided and worked - unnatural in our imprinted driving training/habits. The explanation re the loading dock gives some credence to the present pattern, though it is no wonder that so many are so turned around, literally, when exiting the drive-through. It's unfortunate that a special "Loading Dock" provision for deliveries to that business could not have been reached, however. Thanks for the forum.
Mona Behan November 15, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Agree with Joyce that this is a "head-on collision" waiting to happen. I live on Foss Creek Circle and drive in fear now, especially when I'm making a left-hand turn onto Grove Street from the left-hand lane. I've seen too many people not heed the signs and turn onto the northern entrance of Foss Creek Circle. There was no need for this change in the first place, and it's time for the City Council and/or traffic commission to admit that this was a mistake and change it back to a two-way street.
Kent Pricer November 15, 2012 at 06:33 PM
I have lost track of the number of times that I've encountered vehicles coming at me the wrong way on Foss Creek Cir. when I go to the P.O. Should be changed back to 2 way. Why did the city try to fix what wasn't broken?
Karen Ellingson November 15, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I am new in town (Bend Oregon) and honestly this is the most amazing fiasco I have encountered in the traffic realm of life...REALLY? all the money spent on this and our water/ sewer bills are a bigger concern to me!
Keri Brenner (Editor) November 15, 2012 at 08:01 PM
I think one of our many talented Healdsburg singer-songwriters should pen a country music ballad about this issue. How about, "My heart goes two ways, but my pickup truck needs to go one?"
Igor November 15, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I think all of us agree that the current situation is only because of the additional traffic being dumped onto this little street because of the Post Office Fire and relocation to a facility never designed for it's current useage. Virtually the entire town is forced to rely for their postal services on a inadequate street access. It's time our City Council Leadership to step forward...
Lew Sbrana November 15, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Amen! To all contributors. I may have started this mess with a letter to the editor (Aug. 7, 2012) suggesting a one-way street, but the direction I proposed was counter-clock wise. As stated, it just makes more sense. But good luck getting the city to change their decision. Just take a look a the city corporation yard parking lot. Backward also.
timm November 15, 2012 at 10:24 PM
As a candidate in the recent City Council elections, I advocated for dealing with this unnecessary problem and waste of taxpayer resources. A certain City Council member stated in a public forum that "people in Healdsburg are getting used to this change and will like it." I believe a petition drive drive to have Foss Creek Circle changed to a counter-clockwise direction or revert to a two-way street may be an effective way to get our City leaders attention. I would value peoples opinion on this, as the Patch has already shown Healdsburg's view through the poll they took (which showed almost unanimous support for chnging the current situation).
Kent Pricer November 16, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Where do I sign!
Ben Poole November 16, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Making Foss Creek Circle one way is silly and unnecessary. Having traffic flow clockwise absurd. Spending money on signs and cones is ridiculous. Bottom line is that this endangers peoples lives and the city council should be held accountable and the two responsible parties were reelected.
David Howard November 16, 2012 at 03:41 PM
How about that "U turn" at the PO to drop off a letter?? Did anybody really think this silly, counter intuitive project through? Perhaps an engineering student from the UK? Let's just switch this back to the "non problem" of a two way street and spend our rare tax dollars on real issues. I, for one, will forget this ever happened.
Merete Wimmer November 16, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I agree this project makes no sense and is a complete waste of tax dollars. Perhaps a few situations around entrance to post office and drop boxes made some "noisy" people go to city counsil.... seriously .. and especially the diretion of the one way! Now there really is an issue as you can't easily get to the drop boxes if your vehicle is bigger than a mini cooper. Wow! Sign over kill of a bad idea...
joyce November 16, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Have all members of Healdsburg City Council READ THIS COMMENTARY STRING!!
Robert Herrick November 17, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Get one going timm, I'll sign. This was a stupid idea from the get go. . .
Eric Compton November 17, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Here is an amazing waist of resources. How many thousands of dollars were spent to create this fiasco? There is one business which had problems getting deliveries into their building, and now everyone suffers? Advice tips... 1) hire a real (IE skilled) truck driver. 2) think about what you are doing before you create a solution. The people who purchased condo's on Foss creek circle, will be spending more on fuel each year, many of the frontage businesses will see a decrease in usage, not to mention the eyesore of the digital signs, cones and other detracting features, such as having to circle all the way around foss creek circle to loop around at the post office to finish the loop on foss creek, just to post a letter, and of course if that errand was in route from the north end of town to the south end, you've now got to go about the last turn you just made to continue on. my last rip around foss creek circle had me encountering just this scenario, and double parking on both sides of the street, pedestrian traffic and the lack of dedicated lanes has become a free for all of swerving right to go left across what was both lanes to enter the post office facing the other direction. I say "last trip around foss creek circle" because i fully intend for it to be. Resigned my gym membership in conjunction with that decision. One i will reconsider just as soon as we have restored a normal traffic pattern on foss creek circle.
Eric Compton November 17, 2012 at 09:38 PM
I'm in on that too.
Corrie Lechman Gordon November 20, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Why did we not just paint a line down the middle of the street to divide the lanes? Seems like it would have been a simple and easy fix. I too have witnessed wrong way drivers - don't think it's gonna get better.


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