Healdsburg OKs Its 1st One-Way Street: Foss Creek Circle

Post Office traffic has increased hazards with two-way, City Council says.

Note: This story was updated on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012.

Healdsburg City Council unanimously approved a change to one-way Monday for Foss Creek Circle, making it possibly the first one-way street in Healdsburg history.

"We'll have to check with the [Healdsburg] Museum, but I think this is the first one-way street in all of Healdsburg's existence, since 1857," said Mayor Gary Plass.

"This was a long-time coming," Plass added. "I feel this will relieve any stacking at the north end from people turning left."

Speaking in favor of the change were Bob Fraser, owner of on Foss Creek Circle next to the Post Office, and PJ Lenz of

"I give my full support to having Foss Creek Circle be one-way," said Fraser, chairman of the "I have my trucks coming through and the drivers complain that people are flying by in and out of the Post Office.

"I think a clockwise [south to north] one-way direction will be a lot safer," Fraser said.

Lenz said she thought the one-way flow "would be a lot safer," she said.

But Post Office officials, including and Supervisor Bonnie Buckingham, said they wanted to keep the road two-way. Instead, they requested the city remove some street parking.

"I think you should red-line the curb near " Buckingham said. "One of our truck drivers said it was very unsafe to pull into the driveway with all the cars parked on the street."

Buckingham said the one-way pattern will be difficult for the carriers who drive the large post office trucks.

"It's safer for our carriers to exit on the south side," Buckingham said. The new one-way pattern would exit on the north side of Foss Creek Circle at Grove Street. "Postal vehicles have a lot of blind spots -- this could be dangerous."

Machado said he was not at all in favor of the one-way decision.

"Parking is what's causing the problem, not the two-way," Machado said.

Machado also balked at City Council's request that he move the drop-off mailboxes to the other side of the driveway to accommodate the clockwise direction.

He said there was not enough room in the drop-off driveway to move the mailboxes to the other side -- a statement that drew him a little heat from both City Councilman Jim Wood and Mayor Gary Plass.

"Let's face it," Wood said. "It was congested there before, but traffic was never an issue until the Post Office intensified its operation there.

"I'm not going to show a lot of love for the post office being there," said Wood, who was mayor during the time when the former post office on against moving the public Post Office services to the former U.S. Postal Annex on Foss Creek Circle. "It's the reason there's more traffic."

Plass, in voting for the one-way move, said he "was confident the Post Office could oversee this little hurdle and move the drop-off boxes to the other side."

As to parking issues, Wood suggested that businesses on Foss Creek Circle that have extra off-street parking cooperate and offer help to their neighbors who have employees who need to park.

"We know the Post Office is not willing to open up its parking area, but maybe other businesses will," Wood said.

City staff have been looking a making Foss Creek Circle, a well-used side street loop that fronts the busy  and other major public and private properties, one-way for at least a year.

The change to one way was requested at last month's City Council meeting by Harry Kaufman, president of the Foss Creek Condominums, a complex that also fronts Foss Creek Circle.

Kaufman, speaking during the public comment period at last month's meeting, said that traffic in front of the condo complex has become increasing troublesome since the

According to the staff report, the one-way loop would be clockwise, entering from Foss Creek Circle's south intersection on Grove Street and exiting on the northern intersection on Grove Street closest to West Grant Street.

To see a copy of the staff report, click on the PDF attached to this story.

LindaM August 07, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Why South-North (so almost everyone is turning LEFT into their parking lots) vs north-south? Seems to me that drivers will still be crossing in front of each other as they turn in/out of parking .. which could be avoided if it flowed the other way...
Keri Brenner (Editor) August 07, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I'm not sure why they decided to do it that way....need to confirm with the city. I agree it seems easier and more intuitive to go the other way and make right turns into the offices. I'll check into it...
Gary Goss August 07, 2012 at 04:17 PM
If we hurry, we can become more like Sebastopol where, after ten years of close observation, you can learn how to get through the maze of one-way streets and leave town.
JDAngius August 07, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Has there been a safety problem? I drive there every day and, with adequate driving skills and situational awareness, never found Foss Creek Circle to be an extraordinary challenge. What am I missing?
Vickie Norris August 07, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I agree. It sounds like north-south one-way would solve the problem for the directionally and driving challenged and postal trucks. We need the street parking so that is not an answer.
Tom Kearney August 07, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Reading the headline, I automatically thought it would be north to south with easy right turns into businesses and condos. Very surprised as I read further into the article that the one way flow is south to north. Maybe this would the time for the Post Office to better design the flow into and out of their drop-off lane. Exiting has always been troublesome with a fast sharp turn that causes one to end up in the middle of the street, and now the newer approach has a short sharp turn on the way in. Perhaps gentler angles would keep more rubber on the tires and less on the curbs.
ScottRAB August 07, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Careful what you wish for. 'Safety' is a difficult to pin down notion. I note one person interviewed said something about vehicles flying down the street, presumably speeding? One way streets remove oppositional flow and the associated friction it causes. Changing a street to one-way operation without mitigating for the increase in speed that is likely to happen can result in more crashes of a more severe nature. Two lanes going one direction means faster drivers can pass slower ones, where now the slow ones keeps everyone slow. Drivers going faster means those exiting driveways need to see farther down the street, so a couple parking spaces removed for each driveway.
Kathy Seisdedos August 08, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I applaud the one-way on this short loop. If the huge Post Office trucks prefer to exit side, why not make the street counter-clockwise? It seems that many people want it that direction, too.
Jan Anderson August 09, 2012 at 12:03 AM
I agree with what several others here have already said. I too drive that street several times a week and have never seen or heard of anything that make me think that this small stretch of road requires special handling. And the proposed counter clockwise direction does seem counter intuitive to me too. This is unnecessary, in my humble opinion.
Jan Anderson August 09, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Oops I made a mistake before....I meant to sat that the CLOCKWISE direction seems counter intuitive to me too.
Tim W August 09, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Add my vote to counter clock wise - north to south! Postal trucks idle on south side near the Parkpoint outdoor pools deliver a choking cloud of fumes onto the pool surfaces were swimmers (such as myself) spent considerable time. Wind of course mitigates this and yet in view of well established in-car postal drop off counter clockwise seems best. Thanks
Barbara Medaille August 10, 2012 at 11:03 PM
I agree, LindaM. Turning right into the P.O., and then right again upon leaving makes much more sense to me.


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