News Rice to Andersen Pathway Opening Date Announced; Grand Ave. Bridge Unveiled
MCBC is delighted to share the news: Marin’s next pathway–bridging the southern half of the gap between Downtown San Rafael and Cal Park Hill–is set to open the week of July 15!
The pathway, which runs alongside SMART’s Larkspur rail extension from Rice Drive to Andersen Drive, will close another important gap in Marin’s North-South Greenway, enabling people of all ages and abilities to walk and bike along a more safe, direct route–and avoid the heavy industrial traffic that is common in the area.
Supporters will have two opportunities to join us on the pathway to learn more about the project and celebrate its opening:
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony (Hosted by City of San Rafael): Tuesday, July 16, 2 PM | Andersen Dr. Pathway Entrance, San Rafael
Ride With Us – SMART Pathway Progress Report: Thursday, July 18, 5:30 PM | Central Marin Ferry Connector Bridge, Larkspur | More Details & RSVP >>
how we got here
The completion represents a major victory for MCBC that has been in the works for the last three years. The issue rose to prominence in 2015, when it became clear that SMART did not plan to build a pathway parallel to its Larkspur rail extension. However, in a deal brokered by US Congressman Jared Huffman, SMART, MCBC, and Transportation Alternatives for Marin signed a legal agreement in which SMART agreed to allow the pathway to be constructed within its right-of-way, if feasible.
The County of Marin quickly moved forward with a feasibility study that proved the pathway would fit within the right-of-way, and the City of San Rafael was tasked with securing funding, environmental clearance, permitting, and designs – all before SMART was too far along with construction of Larkspur rail extension.
The project was endangered in 2018 amid concerns about rising cost estimates due in large part to poor soil conditions. As a result, the City of San Rafael had to split the project into two phases and prioritize the stretch between Rice Drive and Andersen Drive due to proximity to the rail line.
next up: rice Drive to 2nd St.
The northern half of the project, between Rice Drive and 2nd Street, will feature a similar design and run alongside the newly-reconstructed Francisco Boulevard West. MCBC and the City of San Rafael were successful in securing $1.2m from a state grant toward the project, but an additional $2m is needed. San Rafael hopes to begin construction sometime in 2020.
Grand Ave. bridge opens
Across the freeway, the City of San Rafael recently completed and unveiled a beautiful new bicycle and pedestrian bridge along Grand Avenue between Francisco Blvd. East and 2nd St. The badly-needed bridge provides a safe crossing in an area where people on foot and bike often shared a narrow sidewalk or risked riding in the busy roadway. The City expects to begin construction in 2020 on a widened sidewalk along Francisco Blvd. East to complete the connection to the Canal neighborhood.
Even with the improvements, Francisco Boulevard East and Grand Avenue will not meet the needs of those travelling between the Canal neighborhood and the San Rafael High School / Montecito area. We continue to believe that a more direct Canal crossing is needed.