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Call to Action: Save a Vital Link in Marin’s Bike Network

Hearing tonight. Just south of the new bridge over Corte Madera Creek there's a short and vital but super sketchy gap on the route to Wornum Drive. Now a Larkspur City Council person wants to kill a project to close this gap.

A look at part of the gap between the new Corte Madera crossing and the Wornum Drive bike path. Image: Google maps

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Happy Update 9/21, from the Marin County Bicycle Coalition: "The pathway is approved 3-1, with CM Kevin Carroll voting no. Thank you to everyone who wrote and called in! We couldn't do it without your support."

Larkspur City Councilmember Kevin Carroll seems bent on killing a project to close a vital gap in Marin's bike path network, between Corte Madera Creek Bridge and Wornum Drive on Redwood Highway.

Just last year cycling advocates celebrated the opening of the Corte Madera Creek Bridge, an important link between the Larkspur ferry terminal, the terminus of the SMART train, and points south and west. It also provides a much-improved link to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

A look at the portion of the project in Larkspur: the dashed green line

But there's a dangerous gap in the project, pictured above. Without a path connecting the creek bridge to the multi-use path on Wornum Drive (bottom left in the above map), cyclists are forced to navigate about a half-mile of the freeway frontage road full of potholes, shopping mall driveways, and high-speed traffic seen in the lead image. Yes, there are painted bike stripes in the gutter and some sharrows, but let's get real.

Larkspur has a plan to close this gap (or at least the first part of it) with another section of off-street, multi-use path along Redwood Highway. Unfortunately, the Larkspur section is now in jeopardy thanks to Carroll, who pulled this previously uncontroversial project from a consent calendar a couple of weeks ago to discuss it further at Wednesday evening's (tonight's!) Larkspur City Council meeting.

"Federal funds are committed to the project. The two-week delay won't forfeit that, but [delay] beyond that does," said Marin County Bicycle Coalition's Warren Wells.

Due to a vacancy on the council, if Carroll and any one of the other three councilmembers fail to support the project "it will be effectively dead," said Wells.

Streetsblog reached out to Carroll, who replied with what can only be described as confused responses about the project. For example, he wrote that the "path will be for pedestrians, not bikes."

"According to the engineering documents, the new pathway will be 12' wide and is intended for both bicycle and pedestrian use," wrote Wells.

A cross-section of the design. Note it says "multi-use" path.

Carroll also wrote that the path "eliminates [the] existing bike lane [and], forces bikes to share lane with cars." As the lead photo shows, that's the current situation. It would be corrected by an off-street multi-use path. Streetsblog followed up with Carroll, who said he was concerned about lighting and to "check with Warren Wells, of [the] Marin Bike Coalition. I am big pro-bike advocate, but I want safety first."

Wells again confirmed the path design includes bicycles.

Whatever Carroll's concerns, "The project is fully designed and funded. So it's an option between project 'A' or nothing, and this project would be a substantial improvement on the status quo," added Wells.

The end of the creek bike path where it spits you out into traffic. Image: Google Earth

This segment is also part of the Marin North-South Greenway, a planned and partially completed off-street route from the Golden Gate Bridge all the way to the Marin-Sonoma border.

More from a letter from the Marin County Bicycle Coalition's to the Larkspur City Council:

A great deal of work has already gone into creating an all-ages and abilities route through Larkspur and Corte Madera, including the Cal Park Hill Tunnel, the overcrossing above Sir Francis Drake, and the new Corte Madera Creek
Bridge. This project builds on that work and gets us nearly 1000’ closer to connecting to the Wornum Drive where pathways continue west along the Sandra Marker Trail and south along the Bay Trail.

As currently designed, the project will construct a new multiuse pathway on the west side of the road and a new sidewalk on the east side of the road between the Chevron and Rich Street, solving flooding issues that affect pedestrians today, all while maintaining on-street parking.

While budget constraints may have prevented this from being a perfect project and including other desirable features, we are no longer in the design phase, choosing between several alternatives. If the project is rejected, the money will be returned to the funders rather than being available for some other project. The choice today is between the project and the status quo.
We believe that the choice is clear, and that the multiuse pathway represents a clear benefit for those who live in, work in, and travel through Larkspur on foot or by bicycle.

The project will be voted on during Wednesday evening/tonight's regular Larkspur City Council meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. MCBC urges members and anybody interested in the future of Marin County to send an email to: cityclerk@cityoflarkspur.org Subject line: Item 8.1 - 9/20/2023 City Council and demand they support the "Redwood Highway (North) Bicycle and Pedestrian Path Improvements." They can also contact Carroll and his staff directly.

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