MCBC Advocacy At Work Marin’s Longest Separated Bike Lane Being Developed
If everything goes well, in 2025 you’ll be able to bike from Mike’s Bikes in Sausalito to Downtown Tiburon on a bike path or in a separated bike lane, a distance of seven miles. Read on to learn more about the exciting project of Marin’s Longest Separated Bike Lane Being Developed.
In 2018, Caltrans completed its Bay Area Bike Plan, which included a recommendation for Class IV bike lanes (meaning bike lanes with vertical separation, like those on E. Blithedale Avenue). While sometimes these plans don’t mean much, this time was different.
The Repaving Project
We learned that Caltrans was planning a repaving project for Tiburon Blvd. from US-101 to the Tiburon Ferry. With just a little pushing, Caltrans has agreed to provide Class IV lanes between US-101 and Blackie’s Pasture, at which point riders can continue on the Old Rail Trail to downtown (Tiburon Blvd. also narrows significantly at that point, meaning that bike lanes wouldn’t fit without widening the road).
In addition to bike lanes, a separated bike/pedestrian pathway (long-requested by the community) will be built between E. Strawberry Drive and Greenwood Cove Drive.
What We Love
This project represents a large departure from how the state typically treats repaving projects, which is to put the road back the same as before. Adding two miles of separated bike lanes and fixing a key gap as part of the repaving is a model for how projects like this should happen. It’s always cheapest and easiest to make improvements when construction is already planned, rather than as part of a separate project.
The Class I shared-use path on the south side of Tiburon Blvd between E. Strawberry Dr. and Greenwood Cove Dr. will be a significant improvement for anyone traveling west from Tiburon to Strawberry, making it so they don’t have to cross Tiburon Blvd twice.
What Needs Improvement
Not everything is perfect, and we have some recommendations that we think can get the project from a B to an A.
Gap in the Westbound Bike Lane
Going west from Blackie’s Pasture, the bike lanes do not start until either Jefferson Dr. or Reed Ranch Rd. (we’ve heard conflicting things from Caltrans). Because the only traffic light is at Trestle Glen Blvd., that means people will not have protection for a long westbound stretch. This will mean that most westbound riders will continue using Greenwood Cove Dr./Greenwood Beach Rd. as they currently do. This could be fixed by either (A) having the westbound bike lane start at Trestle Glen Blvd. or (B) making the bikeway bidirectional between Blackie’s Pasture and Greenwood Cove Dr.
How Protected are the Bike Lanes?
Caltrans has not yet said what they will use to separate the bike lane from the automobile lanes. While the flexible delineators on E. Blithedale Ave. may work for 30 mph traffic, something more substantial is needed on Tiburon Blvd. where speeds may reach 50 mph or higher. We are urging Caltrans to use the most substantial barriers that can be afforded in the project budget.
Transit Stops Access
While the project is largely a win from a bicycling perspective, there are some real misses from a pedestrian and transit access perspective. Tiburon Blvd. has several streets that have no signal, no crosswalk, and yet have a bus stop on both sides of the (high-speed) road. Examples of these are Cecilia Way, Jefferson Dr., and Gilmartin Dr. At a public meeting held on 10/26, a number of parents pleaded with Caltrans to install crosswalks and pedestrian refuges. Caltrans’ responded that “to mark a crosswalk would be to create a false sense of security,” even though kids are crossing there already.
This attitude is, we feel, unacceptable. This is the best opportunity to make these crossings safe. Without action now, anyone living on these streets with children will almost certainly send them off to college before another project comes along.
How You Can Help
We have prepared a letter to Caltrans, which you can read here, making the above suggestions and several more. You can echo the suggestions made in our letter by clicking on this link, which will allow you to send an official comment to Caltrans.
Comments are due by 11:59 PM Friday, November 3rd, so do not delay!
Caltrans will have to respond to all comments provided on the Initial Study (see above). We hope that they will choose to make some of the minor design changes we recommend. After the environmental document is complete and the engineering design is done, construction is expected to start in June 2025 and be complete in January 2026.
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members make it happen
Supporters like you, who speak out for safer places to bike and give to MCBC, make projects like these possible. Thank you! Want to support this work? Give here. We’re working hard to ensure that there is always a full pipeline of projects in development so we can keep making Marin more bikeable every year.