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Marin County Bicycle Coalition Celebrates Progress

An update about some of the most exciting projects that opened recently or are getting underway from our friends up north

The 2nd Street 2-way cycle track ribbon cutting in San Rafael. Photo Credit: TAM

Although we saw a lot of successes in 2023, it was a slow year for the stuff we really love: new bike infrastructure. Happily, 2024 is shaping up differently. Six projects across the county are breaking ground or will be rideable by the end of 2024. That’s a lot of ribbon-cuttings!

The following projects (listed in roughly chronological order) were all important wins supported by MCBC’s fantastic members and devoted volunteers, and we look forward to celebrating them with you! Look for a future post about the projects that still need help getting across the finish line. 

2ND STREET IN SAN RAFAEL

This has long been one of MCBC’s top-priority projects, and we were thrilled to cut the ribbon with city staff and city council on January 12th! This two-way bikeway on the south side of 2nd Street between Marquard Avenue and Shaver Street greatly improves travel between Gerstle Park and the Ross Valley/Fairfax. Additionally, anyone traveling east/west through San Rafael can bypass downtown if so desired.

There are a few outstanding issues with the project that we plan to bring to the attention of public works. If you spot something amiss (not uncommon in large capital projects), don’t hesitate to let us know

GRAND AVE TWO-WAY BIKEWAY

Also located in San Rafael just east of US 101, this project will extend the bikeway connections to the Grand Avenue bike/ped bridge another two blocks between 2nd and 4th Streets. Construction should start shortly, with completion expected in mid to late spring.

OLD REDWOOD HIGHWAY PATHWAY

This long-awaited project will extend the brand new Corte Madera Creek Bridge pathway another two blocks along Old Redwood Highway, providing a safe and low-stress connection to the Lucky Drive pedestrian overcrossing. This project was nearly derailed when a Larkspur City Councilmember took aim at it last summer but was rescued thanks to quick action from MCBC and our members. Construction starts soon and should wrap up early this summer.

SMART PATHWAY – MCINNIS PARKWAY TO SMITH RANCH ROAD

The latest segment of SMART pathway began construction in the fall of 2023 but had to pause in January to avoid disturbing sensitive bird habitat. This segment, when open, will connect the Gallinas Marsh and San Rafael Airport to the Civic Center with a new bridge and pathway running just east of the train tracks, shortening travel between the two by a mile, and obviating the need to ride on Redwood Highway. Expect completion of this piece of the nine-county San Francisco Bay Trail sometime this fall.

FRANCISCO BOULEVARD EAST – RICHMOND-SAN RAFAEL BRIDGE CONNECTION

Since early 2021, we’ve been told that this project is about to start construction. Well, it’s finally true! More than four years after the opening of the Richmond San Rafael Bridge Path, the area is about to be…somewhat less disconnected from San Rafael. This project will close the gap between the existing pathway and the two-way protected bikeway on the I-580 flyover. Construction starts this January and will finish by the end of the year. The delays to the project (and the long construction time) are related to utility undergrounding. Look for updates here.

NELLEN AVENUE TWO-WAY BIKEWAY

This project includes the widening of the existing Wornum Drive multiuse pathway and the construction of a new two-way protected bikeway on Nellen Avenue between Wornum and Fifer Avenue, allowing bicyclists to pass through what is currently a cul-de-sac on Nellen. This isn’t a world-changing project, but it will provide improvements for people traveling on the west side of US 101 between Corte Madera Creek and the Sandra Marker Trail. Construction will begin during the summer of 2024.

VISTA POINT TRAIL

Another long-anticipated and long-delayed project is finally moving forward. The Vista Point Trail – another important segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail – will connect the Vista Point parking lot (where the east sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge lands in Marin) with lower Conzelman Drive and Fort Baker. This new trail segment will ease the path for weekday riders (or those traveling after 9:00 PM), provide beautiful views, and allow users to avoid nearly all of Alexander Avenue. Though designed many years ago, lead remediation caused significant delays. Look for cleanup work to start soon, with construction planned later in the year.

A BIG YEAR FOR BIKES

All in all, we’re looking forward to seeing 2.3 miles of all ages and abilities bikeways, both in the form of shared-use pathways and protected bikeways. We hope to keep this momentum going forward and lay the groundwork for more projects in the future. To help support our work, you can become a member or join an MCBC Local Team.

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Warren Wells is Policy & Planning Director with the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. A version of this post first appeared on the MCBC blog and is republished here with permission.

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