North McDowell Boulevard Improvement Project

Project Description

Have you noticed a smoother surface and safer walking/biking conditions on N. McDowell lately? We are pleased to report our North McDowell Improvement project is complete!

We have created the following on N. McDowell Blvd. from Sunrise Parkway to Old Redwood Highway:

  • A safer, smoother roadway surface
  • Improved traffic flow and safety
  • Elements designed to reduce traffic speed
  • Enhanced sidewalks, curbs, & pedestrian crossings
  • Upgraded bike lanes
  • Better access to transit

Though the City of Petaluma N. McDowell Improvement project is complete, SMART will be working in the area in the coming months as part of their Petaluma North Station construction, which will include construction of an extension to the existing mulit-use path to Penngrove.

This project was made possible, in part, by funding from Measure U - a voter-supported tax initiative. Thank you, Petaluma, for making these amazing improvements possible!


Due to ongoing construction along North McDowell, Petaluma Transit buses may experience schedule delays. In addition, bus stop accessibility may vary. All Petaluma Transit bus stops will be open and serviced unless otherwise noticed.

Be advised, buses may not be able to pull to the curb for boarding or deboarding. When waiting at a bus stop in the construction zone, passengers are advised to stand at the bus stop and raise your arm as the bus approaches. Use caution when walking to and from the bus.

If at any time you are passed by a bus or have accessibility issues, contact Petaluma Transit 707-778-4460.


We held a Virtual Community Meeting on Wednesday May 10 to:

  • Share the status of the project and upcoming work
  • Discuss potential traffic impacts
  • Receive feedback and answer questions from the community

CLICK HERE to view a recording of the meeting.


Please see below for information on specific elements of the project.

During construction, traffic control measures will be implemented for safety. Every effort will be made to minimize impacts to traffic, however delays may happen and should be expected during heavy commute hours.

Concrete work began in December 2022 and lasted through March 2023. This work included improvements to:

  • Sidewalks
  • Americans with Disabilities (ADA) ramps
  • Some driveways

Concrete work for sidewalk improvements may impact irrigation with the potential need for irrigation relocation on some properties. If you have a contractor who handles irrigation for your property, please email their contact information to: [email protected]. We would like to work with your irrigation team to ensure the work being done causes the least amount of disruption and meets the needs of your property.

Our community has clearly expressed a desire for more trees along the McDowell corridor and we wholeheartedly agree mature tree canopies are essential and offer valuable climate and aesthetic benefits to our community. We worked with certified arborists to ensure our work was done in a way that best supports tree retention and health.

Keeping Trees Safe & Healthy During Construction
Every effort has been made in the design of this project to retain all existing, healthy trees. A tree survey was performed by a certified arborist for the entire corridor. The survey identified tree types, health, and structural integrity. This helped us create the following strategies to minimize removal, primarily for the sidewalk installation and creating a safe path of pedestrian travel:

  • Using a thinner sidewalk section
    • RESULT: Reduces excavation; thus, minimizes root exposure and damage during construction
  • Moving sidewalk placement
    • RESULT: Shifts construction away from trees to limit impact
  • Use of retaining walls
    • RESULT: Limits excavation needed; thus, minimizes potential damage to roots during construction

Tree Removal
We worked closely with an arborist to identify which trees require removal and to identify areas to replant in the future. Any tree removal required for the street-sidewalk-bike path right of way has been mitigated with the planting of trees in several locations identified along the North McDowell corridor.

Only unhealthy trees or those with roots interfering with utility lines and/or sidewalks were removed. Our contractor, Team Ghilotti Inc., and City staff had arborists on-site to observe during any tree removal process to make sure it was done thoughtfully and correctly.

Paving work began in June 2023 and was completed in fall 2023. We used a method of rebuilding in which we recycled and reused the existing asphalt. Not only is this a more environmentally-friendly method, it creates a stronger roadway foundation that will support heavy North McDowell traffic for years to come.

Listening to the needs and concerns of our community is an important step in any project – and is essential when making changes to a street as impactful as N. McDowell. We engaged with our community through meetings, workshops, and more to help shape the vision for the future of this important roadway.


We held a Virtual Community Meeting on Wednesday May 10, 2023 to:

  • Share the status of the project and upcoming work
  • Discuss potential traffic impacts
  • Receive feedback and answer questions from the community

CLICK HERE to view a recording of the meeting.


On September 28, 2022 we held an informational meeting to review:

  • An overview of the project and planned improvements.
  • How community feedback is factored into our final design.
  • What to expect in regard to construction and traffic impacts.
  • Answers questions and responses to concerns.

Nearly 40 community members attended the meeting and Spanish interpretation services were available.

If you were unable to attend the meeting, you can watch a recording HERE. Please note, approximately the first 40 minutes of the meeting are a presentation by City staff with the remainder dedicated to discussion.


On January 26, 2022, the City of Petaluma held a community-wide public workshop to discuss plans to reconstruct and repave North McDowell Blvd. between Old Redwood Highway and Sunrise Parkway. Our City team shared a presentation outlining the purpose of the project, ideas for improvement, and available funding, then opened the session up to the public to share their perspective.

We were pleased to have over 50 community members attend the meeting and share their concerns, ideas, and hopes for project. We have taken this important feedback into consideration and have updated our designs to reflect many of your ideas (see images on right of page).

We have presented these designs to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee. Thank you to all who took the time to engage in this crucial conversation with us. McDowell is one of the most traveled roadways in Petaluma and our goal is to make it the best it can be for all users.

  • CLICK HERE to view notes recapping the workshop and input from the public.
  • CLICK HERE to view a recording of the workshop.

Project Location

North McDowell Boulevard from Sunrise Parkway to Old Redwood Highway.

Traffic Impacts & Benefits

To be determined.

Project Status

Construction began in spring 2023 and is expected to be completed by fall of 2023.


Funding for this work is a combination of:

  • Measure U funds, Street Maintenance fees
  • Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation (RMRA) fees
  • Water fees
  • SB-1 funds with some utility fees that exist to compensate for damage done to streets due to placement and maintenance of sewer and water facilities.

The project will be rolled out in phases and funding will be secured for each phase.

BID Details

Bidding was completed in August 2022.

Measure U Updated Burst_McDowell


Please take a moment to share your contact information with us so that we may keep you directly updated throughout the project.

Stay tuned to our Community Update email and social media channels for project updates. Visit for more information.

Learn More

We are currently hard and work making N. McDowell the best it can be and welcome feedback from our community. Please sign up below if you would like to learn more and provide input.

Click photos below to enlarge. 

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