Alaska Airlines has announced changes in their scheduled flights serving the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. Beginning in June, the Seattle-based carrier will drop its local daily flight to Las Vegas, and add service to San Diego instead. The schedule will also add a third daily flight to Los Angeles during the summer months. Last week, Sonoma County Supervisors approved an $84 million expansion plan for the Santa Rosa airport, despite opposition from nearby residents. That project will include lengthening the runways, a pre-requisite for additional commercial service at the facility.
There could be a second light rail train in the North Bay, if a pair of Napa Valley businessmen are successful. Their Napa Transit Investors hopes to start a daily shuttle service between Napa and St. Helena, upgrading the tracks now used by the Napa Wine Train. The project will need up to $200 million to get going--mostly in federal transportation funds, and would require more than 1 million riders annually to be profitable.
A pattern of noisy disruption at public meetings to talk about regional planning choices expanded into San Rafael Tuesday night. The “One Bay Area“ workshop, held to gather input for housing and transportation decision-making, was denounced by hostile audience members. Some voiced concerns about property rights, others protested the “totalitarian” planning process, while some less agitated attendees opposed possible higher housing densities in their towns. The Marin meeting followed an even more contentious session in Santa Rosa last week, where police had to be called in to maintain order. A third One Bay Area workshop in Napa Thursday night also drew some vocal objectors, but overall decorum was maintained.
Sign-ups for Santa Rosa bicycling star Levi Leipheimer’s fourth King Ridge Gran Fondo ride next September opened with a flurry on Tuesday. More than half of the 7500 available spots for the 103 mile ride were snapped up in the opening hours of the registration period. Demand for slots in two shorter rides was less intense. The smooth sign-ups were a reflief for organizers, who had to cope with computers crashed by the surge in sign-ups last year. The event, to be held Sept. 29, raises funds to support several local causes, including Santa Rosa’s costs for hosting the first stage of Amgen Tour of California professional cycling race on May 13th.
In other wheeled news, Santa Rosa’s colorful Handcar Regatta will morph into a new and similarly anachronistic event next summer. Its new name: Dr. Erasmus P. Kitty’s Kinetic Frenetic Opera of Mechanical Mayhem. Details like the location and dates will be announced in the coming weeks, but organizers say the event will retain the centerpiece of the Regatta--races between rail-based artistic contrivances.
That’s all for this Week In Review, I’m Michelle Olivera. See you next week!