Petaluma Railroad Crossings Are Still Out Of Control!

Frankly, I CANNOT believe I am having to tell this story…Again! Fortunately, this time we avoided damage to our vehicle.

I was foolish to believe that any serious corrective action would be taken after the close call we had with the total lack of coordination of the railroad signals and traffic lights on Lakeville & D Streets in December 2012.  For details of that event, go to Railroad crossing arms close on Petaluma couple’s car at green light.

Today, I observed that the Same Dangerous Lack of Coordination is still manifest–this time at Lakeville and East Washington.

  • We were headed downtown this morning and stopped at the red light on Lakeville and East Washington. As in December 2012, I was the passenger in the vehicle.
  • Our light turned green for East Washington traffic and within a few seconds the railroad lights started flashing and the arms came down.
  • At least two cars continued through the intersection driving past the arms as they were lowering.
  • The traffic light stayed green throughout the event.

Fortunately, I caught a few photos through the windshield to document this lack of coordination between the two signal systems.

Photo Notes

About 5 seconds passed before I took the first photo of the scene…



Here is another…eleven seconds later…



A minute later these railroad cars appeared…stopped at this location…then reversed and left the scene without crossing East Washington.

The arms went up and the traffic light finally went from green to red!



Fortunately there were no vehicles in the intersection at the time the arms finished closing–how the two that did pass through made it was pure foolish luck on their part.

Given the overall incompetence displayed here in failing to coordinate the lights, it will only be a matter of time before there are serious injuries or worse.

I dare anyone in authority to explain this kind of screwup…much less defend it!

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Petaluma Street Lights–ONE person does it all!!!

Several years ago I noticed that some street lights were on all the time and decided to be a “good citizen” and report them. I was advised that they only had one person for this task and it would take some time.

I did not follow-up on any of this but remembered it when a street light problem recently developed on our street–half the lights were out. So I reported it last March via the City web page. Here is their prompt response…

“Thank you for your submission…we will make every effort to address your request in a timely manner…Please note that at this time, because of reduced staffing, the Public Works Department has fewer personnel available to work on street light outages. We have one full time Street Light Technician working to eliminate the backlog of requests.”


Changing Street Lamp 1910a1


Shopping Carts DON’T Float…at least not in the Petaluma River!

Long ago in a galaxy far far away I used to rant and rave about all the abandoned shopping carts around town.  I seem to remember addressing the City Council at least once. But I found it tiresome and vowed to

  • Never pick up or push another cart out of the ‘Hood.
  • Never take another photo of a cart unless it had a body in it. *

I do remember working with others in our ‘Hood to pick carts up and haul them back to the stores.  Loading them in the pick-up was a chore and took two of us to pull it off. And this brings us to this morning when I spotted two freshly deposited carts in the Petaluma River off the Water Street Promenade.

I was genuinely impressed with the effort.  Based on my experience hauling carts it had to take at least two people to lift the carts over the railing and into the river…

Water Street Promenade Petaluma River

Water Street Promenade Petaluma River Abandoned Carts tossed in the river

And as you can see, one of them was a perfect nose dive…

Water St Petaluma River

Water St Petaluma River Abandoned Cart Nose Dive

I had forgotten how interesting some of the abandoned cart images can be in terms of photo post processing.

It is possible to create some very interesting art images, particularly of carts that are just beneath the surface–.I may even enter one of them in a photo contest–Working Title: Petaluma River Art Objects

I offer a brief slideshow for your consideration and opinion.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*By the bye, the photos I took years ago are still the first ones you see if you enter  “abandoned shopping carts Petaluma” in Google or Bing images. I guess this post may add some more. So be it.


Petaluma’s Mystic Theater Marquee–A Blast From The Past

In this digital big screen age, one institution in Petaluma, CA still relies upon an “old style” theater marquee to promote upcoming events…

Mystic Theater

Mystic Theater

Granted, the Mystic Theater does have a web site and a dot com web page. However, they still rely upon the human touch…and a ladder… when it comes to the street display…

Mystic Theater

Mystic Theater

Mystic Theater

Mystic Theater

The Corner of Main & Washington…

…or what is now known as Petaluma Blvd & East Washington…

The long standing bank building at 199 Petaluma Blvd N (now known as the Seed Bank) resides on the corner of this intersection.  An imposing structure, to say the least.

Finally, after many walks over the years, I finally noticed something on the sidewalk at this corner of Petaluma Blvd and Washington—street names and a compass symbol embedded as metal inlays in the cement.

The corner was once known as Main & Washington and is memorialized in the sidewalk inlays in front of the building. As to when they were installed and by whom, I was not able to determine and will leave that task to more competent people. This post is merely a brief documentary of the inlays as they exist today.

They are easy to miss and are frequently obscured by the sun and/or shadows…

Corner of Petaluma Blvd & East Washington

Corner of Petaluma Blvd & East Washington

Can’t see them? Look again…in a different light…

Hidden In the Shadows

Partially Hidden In the Shadows

It required several visits at different times of the day to finally get an image of the entire array…

Main & Washington

Main & Washington

The three inlays…



Main Street

Main Street

North is that away?

North is thataway?

I could not resist checking out the accuracy of the compass inlay…🙂

Reasonably Accurate

Reasonably Accurate

Petaluma’s Newest Chicken Mural…”sprouts” a…Chicklet!!


My apologies for the mixed metaphor in the title but it just seemed to fit my mood at the moment…

Recall, if you will, my post in June 2014  Petaluma’s Newest Mural…by Maxfield Bala that documented the stunning new mural on Water Street.

Well, Mr. Bala has added to it.  Granted it is smaller in scope but it carries forth the same theme.  I have named it The Chicklet. 

For visual context, see below…

The Chicklet Is In The Back Corner


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