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WBMLogo Walk Bike Marin News

November, 2012

In this Issue:

- Bicycle Parking Program a Success!
- Parks Puts the Rubber to The Road!
- Larkspur’s Doherty Drive Accomplishes Accessibility Improvements!

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

Bicycle Parking Program a Success!

Working together, we made it happen!

The Countywide Bicycle Parking Program (CWBPP), as of August 22, 2012, was successfully completed through a partnership with the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) that has enabled the installation 1,734 new bicycle parking spaces in Marin County. In 2008 the CWBPP was initiated with funds from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) which came to the County through the Transportation Authority of Marin. County staff developed Bicycle Parking Guidelines along with an on-line application process. The application was made easy with a one-page agreement used to fund approved bicycle parking installations. This program was highly successful due in part to MCBC contacting businesses and agencies directly with CWBPP details. This personal contact helped answer the following questions for an applicant:

  • How many parking spaces are needed?
  • What kinds of racks or lockers are best?

Creative new bike rack in front of Tamalpie Pizzeria, Mill Valley
Creative new bike rack in front of Tamalpie Pizzeria, Mill Valley

This contact by Alisha Oloughlin, MCBC Advocacy Coordinator, also encouraged applicants to complete on-line applications and get connected with the CWBPP Manager and Department of Public Works Associate Civil Engineer, Reuel Brady. Reuel helped applicants to develop site maps indicating where the bicycle parking would be located. Initially, the site map was usually a simple drawing on paper that showed the proposed bicycle parking location with dimensions confirmed with a tape measure. It was important to see the orientation of the proposed parking with adjacent structures, landscaping and pedestrian path of travel to ensure the parking would be easily usable and not obstruct pedestrians. As the program evolved a site map using chalk for the bicycle parking footprint taken with a cell phone camera and edited with PowerPoint was a quick and easy solution for non-engineers. The site map was used as an attachment to the one page agreement and would set the reimbursement maximum based on the number and kind of parking spaces proposed.

 No need to drive to Tamalpie … But always find available parking  right out front!
No need to drive to Tamalpie … But always find available parking right out front!

Communication in the CWBPP was the most difficult item to control. The one-page agreement with associated site map was where many applications stalled. In many cases, the business was owned by a corporation, or the property owner was not involved directly, which led to issues in obtaining necessary signatures. Again, special thanks to MCBC for their help in raising awareness, getting stalled applications going, and helping applicants close the deal on their installations.

The CWBPP was in operation for four years at a total cost of $253,655 or approximate $146 per parking space.

Parks Puts the Rubber to The Road!

You may have seen them around town…their use and popularity is on the rise. They’ve even been dubbed the mini-van on two-wheels. Cargo bikes! And you’ll be surprised to know that not only will you find parents using them to tote their kids and even pets to the local Farmer’s Market, but now, for the first time in history, Marin County Parks is using them instead of their gas-guzzling trucks! A cargo bike is like most bicycles in terms of its basic form but typically has a longer wheelbase and heavier-duty frame and wheels to safely carry the additional weight while maintaining stability for the rider.

 Marin Parks’ electric cargo bikes
Marin Parks’ electric cargo bikes

Marin County Parks Ranger Dave McMullen was the power behind the purchase of Parks’ four cargo bicycles, which each cost $4,000. After rationale and justification for the purchase of the bikes was noted in an Innovation Grant McMullen acquired last winter, it was also recommended the cargo bikes be purchased locally.

Although all Parks staff contributed to the end use of these bikes, McMullen led the process. After receiving three bids for four cargo bicycles, The Bicycle Works in San Anselmo won the bid. Park Ranger, Charlie Schonwasser, lives near The Bicycle Works and rallied with the shop’s owner, Jelani Bertoni, to build the electric cargo bicycles.

Purchased in February 2012, the bicycle parts all arrived in April. All Parks staff had to be trained on the bicycles features, as well as how to ride them. Parks liked the fact that the rear wheel hub on the bicycles is the motor, and lithium ion batteries are used. McMullen himself assisted The Bicycle Works owner to build all four of the bicycles.

According to Ranger McMullen, no other public land agency in the Bay Area is using electric cargo bicycles. The agencies do not have policies or protocols in place, which is why Marin’s pilot program and purchase of the bikes has such significance on a grander scale.

 Mom enjoys her cargo of kids at Biketoberfest October 13, 2012
Mom enjoys her cargo of kids at Biketoberfest October 13, 2012

One of the main reasons Parks made the decision to use cargo bikes as a pilot program this year is because cargo bikes could handle the rough, narrow paths of Marin’s trails and fire roads better than trailers or large trucks. Hauling potential is limitless, and McMullen said, “A number of factors, such as high gas prices, the slow economy and environmentalism, nudged the decision to purchase these bikes for Rangers. Plus, you can carry up to 200 pounds on cargo bikes”!

For instance, during the building and maintenance of the new 680 Trail - a 2.9 mile trail, so named for its elevation of 680 feet, which lies within a floating trail easement deeded to the County from the San Domenico School in 2004 – that the electric cargo bikes were used. Cargo bikes were the best means of transportation for patrolling and maintenance of the trail. Parks rangers rode them on the Opening Day of the 680 trail May 19, 2012.

Plus, at this year’s annual Biketoberfest event in Fairfax, sponsored by the Marin County Bicycle Coalition and Access 4 Bikes, a new and exciting feature of the Fest was the Cargo Bike Jubilee

"Younger Americans who live in cities are using the bicycle to go to the market and take the kids to day care," observes a bicycle industry consultant. Recent Bay Area surveys show that Generation Y and Gen X riders are more likely than Baby Boomers to put bikes to practical use.

As for Marin County Parks Rangers, an amazing after-effect of the use of cargo bikes on trails and fire roads has surfaced: Access to and approachability of the public has been enormous! Parks wants to connect with the public, and now hikers, bicyclists and dog walkers are getting one-on-one attention from the Rangers.

McMullen lauds, “It’s healthy for rangers to be on bicycles and breathing fresh air”! The more you drive trucks on Marin’s fire roads, the more a road wears down. The savings from not having to fuel up their trucks is astronomical. They can cover so much ground, which trucks cannot. Bikes are dependable and useable on trails where trucks cannot have access. County Parks is still researching and experimenting with their use. They regularly report the electric cargo bikes’ versatility, capabilities and cost savings to the County Administrator.

For more information, contact Ranger McMullen at

Larkspur’s Doherty Drive Accomplishes
Accessibility Improvements!

On November 2, 2012, the City of Larkspur Department of Public Works (DPW) Director, Hamid Shamsapour, officially cut the ribbon to reopen Doherty Drive in Larkspur to the public: one month ahead of schedule!

Doherty Drive improvements draws a lot of attention during Ribbon Cutting ceremony November 2, 2012
Doherty Drive improvements draws a lot of attention during Ribbon Cutting ceremony November 2, 2012

This important two-lane arterial to the city’s center is adjacent to marine wetlands, serves three schools, Piper Park, the Twin Cities Police Station, residential communities, and Historic Downtown Larkspur.

This is an amazing new facility, complete with a new roadway surface; new restriping/roadway configuration for improved cyclist and pedestrian safety; installation of Class II bicycle lanes on both sides of the roadway; installation of a 12’ wide pedestrian walkway along the south side of the roadway; and the addition of 20 new street lights to further improve safety.

Additional project accomplishments include:

  • Repaired roadway structure, replaced roadway surface
  • Raised level of the road bed to minimize winter flooding
  • Replaced old asphalt sidewalk on north side with reinforced concrete sidewalk
  • Provided a safe path of travel for those with disabilities in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements
  • Installed 2 new reinforced concrete bus pads and two new benches at each bus stop
  • Installed 2 solar-powered digital speed limit signs
  • Planted 24 Red Maples, 10 Crape Myrtles, and approximately 700 Blue (Idaho) Bunchgrass plants as part of the streetscape and beautification.

Happy cyclists can now easily and safely enjoy an afternoon ride along Doherty Drive
Happy cyclists can now easily and safely enjoy an afternoon ride along Doherty Drive

The Doherty Drive Improvements project was funded by eight different sources, including three different federal grant funds (County Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, Surface Transportation Program), one state grant fund (Proposition 1B), Local Measures A and B, TAM Measure A, and the City of Larkspur’s Capital Improvement Program funds.

Additional project information is available on the City of Larkspur’s website:

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