Our Work Closing the 2nd Street Gap in West San Rafael

Update, 10/2/2020: It’s not too late to help us win this key bike/ped connection! Email April Miller (april.miller@cityofsanrafael.org) to speak up in support of the bikeway.

Anyone who has biked between San Rafael and points west has likely experienced the horror of riding on a short stretch of 2nd Street, the only section between Fairfax and San Rafael where people bicycling do not have a calm side street on which to ride. Fortunately, thanks to your support, the City of San Rafael is set to address this gap as part of a larger roadway project in Summer 2021!

One of MCBC’s top priorities, this two-way protected bikeway will be built along the south side of 2nd Street in order to help connect the quiet neighborhood streets (West End/Greenfield Ave. and 1st St.) that run parallel to high-traffic roadways. The bikeway will formalize what most people bicycling westbound already do (ride on the sidewalk), greatly improve safety for people riding east, and create a much-improved pedestrian experience.

San Rafael staff recently revealed two designs: one without parking between West and East Streets, and one with parking. The latter would reduce the bikeway width through that stretch from 12 to 8 feet. In both cases, on-street parking would be removed–it’s just a question of how many spaces.

your help needed – sign up for project updates below

As with any project that includes parking removal, there’s potential for the bikeway to be compromised or removed if controversy arises. 

And, while we’re delighted with the City’s proposal, it falls just short. Per the current proposal, the two-way bikeway would start/end at West Street, 300 feet away from the intersection with West End Avenue (see the section highlighted in red on the map above). That means people on bikes would be expected to ride on a narrow sidewalk or in the roadway exposed to vehicle traffic for those 300 feet.

We’re going to need your help to ensure this project moves forward with the best possible design for people on bikes. Sign up for project updates below; we’ll follow-up with ways you can help the cause as San Rafael solicits community feedback over the coming months.


Nearly ten years ago, MCBC staff and community members identified a preferred route from Fairfax to San Rafael as part of the Fairfax to San Rafael Cross Marin Bikeway Study. The corridor plan included a multi-use pathway along the south side of 2nd Street between West End and Gerstle Park, but was thought to be too costly because of limited right-of-way availability and the need to cut into a hillside.

However, in 2019, San Rafael announced plans for a larger road rehabilitation project that included this stretch. MCBC rallied supporters to demand that this bike connection be included in the project. Engineers are proposing to narrow travel lanes and shift the roadway away from the hillside, meaning the project can now be included in road rehabilitation project at a fraction of the original cost.

members make it happen

All of our work to make bicycling in Marin safe, fun, and accessible is made possible by your support. Join Marin County Bicycle Coalition today!

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