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WBMLogo Walk Bike Marin News

March, 2011

In this Issue:

- San Quentin Bicycle Study
- Light At The End of The Tunnel
- Grand Display of Green
- Marin’s Route 5 Bicycle Facility

Visit the WalkBikeMarin website- the best place to go for current updates about project news and happenings in Marin. Recent highlights include:

San Quentin Bicycle & Pedestrian Study Locked-In

The County of Marin kicked off the San Quentin Area Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Study in Spring, 2010. The project studied ways to improve bike and pedestrian access in the San Quentin area. As a key gap identified in the San Francisco Bay Trail Gap Analysis Study, the area is also one of the top priority projects in the county as described in the 2008 Marin County Unincorporated Area Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.

San Quentin Final Study The San Quentin Area Bicycle Area Bicycle and Pedestrian study can be viewed at the City of Larkspur and San Rafael Libraries and Public Works Departments, the County of Marin Public Works counter, and the Civic Center Library.


The area surrounding San Quentin State Prison, including both the north and south sides of Interstate 580, nearby gaps in the San Francisco Bay Trail, the corridor from Main Street at I-580 to the intersection of Anderson Drive and Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Main street through San Quentin village to the San Quentin Prison entrance, and improved access/egress to/from existing bus stops that provide service across the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge.

According to the Department of Public Works’ Program Manager, Carey Lando, Senior Transportation Planner, "This Study not only looks at closing a priority gap in the regional Bay Trail system and access to the foot of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, but also at improving bicycle and pedestrian access in one of Marin's most picturesque and challenging areas. The process was truly a testament to interagency coordination."

Project Information

  • Public Agency Sponsor: County of Marin Department of Public Works
  • Cost: $100,000
  • Funding Sources: Caltrans Community Based Transportation Grant: $80,000; Local Match: $20,000
  • Completion Date: February 2011
  • Click here for a project fact sheet [PDF]

The San Quentin Area Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Study is one of the top priority projects in Marin County as described in the 2008 Marin County Unincorporated Area Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and the San Francisco Bay Trail Gap Analysis Study.

The 1.5-mile long study corridor along East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and I-580 connects the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to the east and the existing bicycle path at Remillard Park to the west. To the east, the corridor connects with East Francisco Boulevard and the existing southern segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail at Jean and John Starkweather Shoreline Park in San Rafael. The topography of the San Quentin peninsula and the barriers created by Interstate 580 and Corte Madera Creek constrain alternative travel options between Larkspur Landing, San Rafael and the small community of San Quentin Village.

The study corridor provides primary east-west transportation for bicyclists, transit and cars. Currently bicyclists and pedestrians use East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Interstate 580, East Francisco Boulevard and Main Street to access destinations in the area or to circulate through the area to local and regional destinations. The intersection at East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and Andersen Drive is a challenge for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

This area is also physically bisected by Interstate 580 which runs along the northern edge of the study area. Bicycle access is permitted on the eastbound shoulder of Interstate 580 from the East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard onramp to the Main Street/San Quentin off ramp. At this time, bicycles are not permitted on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge but regional transit buses are equipped with bicycle racks to allow riders to travel to the East Bay.

The San Francisco Bay Trail is improved on the northeastern and western edges of the study corridor and this study corridor is a key gap in the continuity of this regional trail system in Marin County. San Quentin State Prison (SQSP) visitor use also generates pedestrian traffic along Main Street. The goal of the study is to identify opportunities to maximize bicycle and pedestrian access in the following locations:

1) East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and Interstate 580

Key Issues: Bicycles are currently allowed on sections of Interstate 580 in order to access East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard; however, the current configuration is not likely to be used by people who feel uncomfortable mixing with fast moving traffic. This study will evaluate alternatives to bicyclists and pedestrians walking or riding on high speed roadway shoulders. It will seek ways to create physical separation and to improve the existing connections.

2) Connections between the existing Shoreline Bay Trail in the City of San Rafael, the new viewing area near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and Remillard Park in Larkspur.

Key Issues: Bay Trail users in San Rafael and Larkspur desire a connection between the existing segments (Shoreline Bay Trail in San Rafael and Bon Air Path in Larkspur). Residents of San Quentin Village also desire connections to these pathways. Pathway users are not likely to use a shoulder on a high speed roadway for this connection. This study will consider options for connecting these two paths.

3) Connections between the Interstate 580 onramp at Main Street and the Andersen Drive/East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard intersection.

Key Issues: The area between Main Street/Interstate 580 and East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard is composed of San Quentin Village and SQSP. All of the prison grounds (the areas between the East and West Gates) have restricted public access because of the overriding importance of maintaining security and protecting public safety. While existing roadways connect these two areas, any new direct connection open to the public would need to meet the Department of Correction’s approval. Other alternatives include traveling north/west along Francisco Boulevard and utilizing the existing I-580 connector ramp to East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and along the shoulder of 580 traveling south/east.

4) The Andersen Drive/East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard intersection.

Key Issues: The need for a new signal at this location was identified in 1995, as part of the Larkspur Ferry Terminal Access Study, and later in 1999 as part of the original Marin County Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan and other efforts by the City of San Rafael. Installing a signal has been problematic due to numerous factors, including the multiple involved agencies and sight distance issues on the East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard westbound off ramp. This study will provide the needed traffic analysis to identify the other connection improvement options.

5) Connections between the Interstate 580 onramp to the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge bus stops and the San Quentin State Prison entrance through San Quentin Village

Key Issues: Main Street in San Quentin Village is a narrow, two lane roadway with limited shoulders. While traffic volumes are generally low, they can spike during shift changes at the prison. New bicycle lanes or shoulders and pedestrian improvements may be desirable on Main Street, including the I-580 under crossing, to connect San Quentin residents, employees and visitors with public transit.

6) Access/egress to/from existing bus stops that provide service across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (closed to bicyclists and pedestrians), and San Quentin Village under I-580.

Key Issues: Enhanced access to the bus stops would help facilitate access for bicyclists who have no other viable option for reaching the East Bay. In addition to improved shoulders or bicycle lanes, bicycle parking may be needed.

If you’re interested in downloading the final study, visit our website!

There’s Not Only Light At The End of The Tunnel ...

The one-mile long Cal Park Hill Tunnel Rehabilitation and Multi-Use Pathway project , including the 1,100-foot tunnel and new bridge over Auburn Street, is complete and now open for business between the hours of 5am and 11pm daily. The project was managed by the Marin County Department of Public Works and required extensive coordination with Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART), Marin County Department of Parks and Open Space, and the cities of San Rafael and Larkspur to bring the project to fruition. The rehabilitated tunnel, in addition to the multiuse pathway, provides for future SMART rail service to Larkspur.

There’s Not Only Light At The End of The Tunnel The 12’-wide multiuse path portion of the tunnel, which provides a direct connection for cyclists and pedestrians to get from Andersen Drive in San Rafael to near the Larkspur Ferry Terminal features more than just light at the end of the tunnel … it is abundantly available inside as well, and includes interior cell phone reception, security cameras, four emergency call boxes and ventilation fans. It also reduces cyclist travel time by 15 minutes over other existing steeper and more circuitous routes to get between central San Rafael and Larkspur.

"The project is unique in that it is one of a very few projects in the entire United States where a rail tunnel shares space with a multi-use path," explains DPW’s Principal Civil Engineer, Ernest Klock. "It’s a first step in a 70-mile journey, which will eventually link passenger rail service and a parallel multi-use path from Sonoma County to the Golden Gate Ferry System in Larkspur, and ultimately to San Francisco. The collective pride we feel having combined efforts to reduce congestion, improve air quality and enhance sustainable resources to the community is immeasurable."

Funding for the project involved a partnership with SMART, Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM), Caltrans, US Federal Highway Administration, , and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. With active participation of all the partners, the Marin County DPW delivered on the vision and long term planning of reopening the tunnel to create the model transportation project.

A 2002 County of Marin study concluded that 800 to 1,000 daily bicycle and pedestrian users would see the light at each end of the tunnel. Specific bike and pedestrian count studies are being conducted by DPW staff and will continue through summer of 2011. Since the tunnel pathway opening the corridor has seen a 153% increase in bicyclists and 34% increase in pedestrians, even with the cold and wet winter we’ve been experiencing!

Tour the tunnel yourself and find out how easy it is to get to the Larkspur ferry terminal or downtown San Rafael! The pathway is accessed on the San Rafael side on Andersen Drive at West Francisco Boulevard, opposite Office Depot. On the Larkspur side, access is from the Larkspur Landing movie theater parking lot. A separate project is currently in design which will extend the pathway south over East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to connect with the Corte Madera Creek path.

Click here for more information on the pathway, tunnel rehabilitation, and future rail service.

Grand Display of Green for WalkBikeMarin

If you’ve ever wondered about Marin County’s ‘footprint’, you’ll be happy to know that the County of Marin’s Department of Public Works (DPW) WalkBikeMarin staff has stepped up green efforts to significantly reduce its size.

Grand Display of Green for WalkBikeMarin This is a mark to be celebrated for the DPW WalkBikeMarin staff who have guided design and installation of over one-thousand bicycle rack spaces throughout the county. To date, Marin’s bicyclists can find one of 1,015 new spaces countywide in which to park and secure their wheels, including over 50 bicycle racks or spaces installed at County of Marin sites just within the past 3 years, compliments of the federal Transportation Fund for Clean Air grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District awarded to DPW.

Kel Harris, Dixie Elementary School’s Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) Taskforce Chair gave his thanks to DPW for a job well done. "Your part in making the new bike facilities at all four Dixie District schools - including Dixie, Mary Silveria, and Vallecito - possible is much appreciated. Each elementary school now has the rack capacity of 60 bikes. Now it’s time to fill ‘em up"!

A portion of WalkBikeMarin’s grand green success is due in part to its Bicycle Parking Program whereby significant reimbursements on bicycle racks and lockers are provided to interested businesses, school, public agencies and non-profit organizations throughout Marin, including within the cities and towns.

"Twelve inverted u-style racks installed [at Marinwood Community Services District/Center] will accommodate 24 bicycles. They’re installed at 3 different locations surrounding the Marinwood Community center on Miller Creek Road, two at the Community Center entrance, six at the Marinwood Pool, and four at the Marinwood Park playground," explains Thomas Horne, District Manager. "We’re looking forward to the racks enjoying especially heavy use this summer, when many pool and park visitors, participants in Marinwood’s popular summer day camps, and summer program staff members arrive by bicycle!'

If you’re interested in bike racks or lockers for your business or organization, visit our website for details on the Bike Parking Program!

Marin’s Route 5 Bicycle Facility
Build Out Rolls Toward Completion

Healthy, outdoor travel through Marin County can now become a new way of life for many. The North-South Greenway, also known as Bicycle Route 5, is rolling toward completion. Now, with the November 2009 construction achievement of the new Class II bike lane on Ranchitos Road from North San Pedro Road to the Puerto Suello summit; 2009 construction of bike lanes on Alameda Del Prado; 2010 construction of bike lanes on Las Gallinas Avenue in San Rafael; 2010 completion of the Cal Park Tunnel Path between Larkspur Landing and San Rafael; and, the 2011 completion of the Puerto Suello Hill Pathway, significant gaps have closed within the Greenway.

Marin’s Route 5 Bicycle Facility While Route 5 between the Golden Gate Bridge and Larkspur has been signed for some time, gaps in Marin’s adopted bicycle network in central and northern Marin meant several disconnected segments of Route 5. Bicyclists and pedestrians alike are now enjoying 13.1 miles of signed bike lanes and multi-use pathways along the northern section of Route 5. Recently, final signage posting was completed along the Puerto Suello summit, as well as at each end of the Cal Park Tunnel, which on December 10th, 2010, officially opened, becoming the long-awaited, safe, and well-lit link between southern San Rafael and Larkspur.

The County of Marin’s Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP), now in its fifth year of service, proudly announces that Marin now boasts a near-continuous, 10.5-mile bicycle facility between Ignacio Boulevard in Novato to downtown San Rafael, and Larkspur. With the expected completion later this year of two more key projects, nearly 16 miles of continuous bicycle facilities will run from northern Novato to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.

One of the NTPP’s key objectives is to pave the way for continuous bicycle and pedestrian facilities between north Novato and the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. The Commuter Bike Connection (westerly side from Highway 101 and Enfrente Road to South Novato Boulevard) is slated to begin construction by this summer; and the 0.3-mile City of San Rafael’s Puerto Suello – Transit Center Connector (Mission Avenue to Second Street) is currently in design, as is the first phase of the Central Marin Ferry Connection, an overpass over East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard connecting the Cal Park Tunnel Path with the Ferry Terminal and Corte Madera Creek path.

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