news Dangerous Bon Air / Magnolia Intersection will Receive Fix

Last February, a driver struck an 11 year-old Larkspur girl bicycling to school at the Bon Air and Magnolia Avenue intersection. She was the fifth person – and fourth child – hit while bicycling through this intersection since 2010.

When MCBC looked at the intersection’s collision history, we noticed that all five of the collisions involved right-turning vehicles using the “slip lanes,” which enable drivers to make right turns after yielding, rather than stopping. The obvious danger with slip lanes is that they encourage drivers to look for oncoming vehicles only.

Last week, with MCBC’s support, Larkspur’s Council moved ahead with plans to remove the dangerous slip lanes as part of the Bon Air Bridge Replacement Project. The space that they formerly occupied will become protected bike lanes.

Nothing, including a few seconds of traffic delay during the peak hour, should be prioritized above the safety of children travelling to and from school,” wrote MCBC’s Policy & Planning Director Bjorn Griepenburg in a letter to the Council. 

The slip lane removal was adopted in 2016. However, when the item came back to the Council for discussion in 2017, a vocal group of residents pushed for the slip lanes to be retained. At that meeting, MCBC outlined all of the collisions that have occurred at this intersection, an important data point that was missing from the staff report.

“We were worried that the Council was put being put in a position in which they would be forced to decide between safety and traffic trade-offs, but doing so without an understanding of the safety impacts,” said Griepenburg.

The same issue resurfaced again last week, when it was feared that the same residents would again push for the slip lanes to stay in place. And again, MCBC outlined all of the collisions involving right-turning drivers.

The collision data proved useful, with the Council voting to move ahead with the slip lane removal.

The Bon Air Bridge Replacement project began this Spring and is expected to last for the next four years, with several phases involved. When complete, the bridge will feature bike lanes and multi-use pathways on both sides of the bridge.


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