Local Policy Wins Policy Director’s Update – Summer 2023
There have been some exciting policy wins from around the county in the last couple of months that we’re eager to share. Read on for MCBC’s Policy Director, Warren Wells’ summer 2023 update.
Marin County Active Transportation Planner
Thanks to the leadership of Supervisor Mary Sackett, the Marin County Supervisors recently created a new position in the Department of Public Works, that of a Senior Active Transportation Planner. Up to this point, there has not been a single public official in our county whose sole responsibility is improving the experience of people walking and biking in Marin. While many people touch on it, it’s never more than a secondary obligation.
This person will work to coordinate the efforts between the various cities in the county, and ensure that bicyclists and pedestrians are not an afterthought, but rather are planned for from the very beginning of projects. We applaud the decision to allocate funding for such a position. Such work pays for itself – every person choosing to walk or ride rather than drive saves the county money on road wear, congestion, and air quality. Though the role is currently only funded for two years, we hope that the position can be made permanent in the next budget cycle.
New San Anselmo Active Transportation Fund
The San Anselmo Town Council recently carved out a specific Active Transportation Fund from its Measure J sales tax revenue. This will direct a steady flow of money to improve walking and biking in the town, which we’re thrilled to see.
Along with the allocation, the Council approved guidelines to specify that for a project to be considered an “active transportation” improvement, and eligible for funding through this fund, it would need to do more than just provide paint on the ground. It would either have to (A) provide physical separation between bikes and cars, or (B) meaningfully slow down car traffic. You can read more about that here.
To our knowledge, this makes San Anselmo the first Marin municipality to create a fund specifically for “all ages and abilities” active transportation. Our hope is that this program will provide a roadmap for similar actions throughout the county.
Alexander Avenue and the Golden Gate Bridge District
We recently posted about our campaign for a safer Alexander Avenue. At the May meeting of the Golden Gate Bridge District board of directors, we delivered our petition with over 1,000 signatures and a letter co-signed by 20 other organizations. This month, at the June meeting, the Bridge District presented its final budget and response to our campaign.
While we did not see a line item for a safety study as we had requested, General Manager, Denis Mulligan, provided a note specifically about Alexander Avenue and responded to several comments we made at that meeting. The current plan is to repave Alexander Avenue and to retain a traffic engineering firm that will make recommendations for bike/pedestrian safety improvements, which may include bike lanes with quick-build separation, narrower car lanes (which will reduce speeding), and lower speed limits.
While nothing is yet set in stone, we applaud this openness to change on the part of the Bridge District staff, who also committed to having an open, public process where members of the bicycling (and walking) public can engage and participate in the planning process. MCBC will keep our members and supporters informed about all developments on this crucially important road.
We would like to recognize the important contribution of our Golden Gate Bridge Advocacy Team, an MCBC-led volunteer group that meets monthly and did much of the heavy lifting on our Alexander Avenue campaign. To get email alerts from that group, sign up here.
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