Bike to Work Week - Be Counted! San Rafael to Construct Temporary Protected Bikeway Downtown
Update, 5/10: The City of San Rafael wants your input! Have you had a chance to check out the temporary protected bikeway on Tamalpais? Please take a moment to share your feedback with the City. Tweet using #TamalpaisBikeLane, text at 415-993-9797, or write them at cityofsanrafael.org/contactDPW .
To celebrate Bike to Work Week, the City of San Rafael will be building a temporary two-way protected bike lane on Tamalpais Avenue between 3rd Street and Mission Avenue. The temporary bikeway is expected to be installed in time for morning commutes on Monday, May 7 and will be in place through Friday, May 11 – maybe longer if it proves popular!
MCBC supporters are encouraged to ride this section as often as possible. Though this project is only temporary, high use will demonstrate the need for a permanent facility on Tamalpais Avenue, which has always been the desired bicycling connection between the Puerto Suello Hill Pathway and 2nd Street.
With the 2nd to Andersen pathway under construction, this four block stretch will soon be the only gap in the North-South Greenway between the top of Puerto Suello Hill and Central Marin Ferry Connector Bridge in Larkspur. People currently biking in that stretch are forced to navigate the gap between Mission Avenue and the SMART station by mixing with fast-moving traffic and navigating hectic intersections.
Protected Bike Lanes for All Ages & Abilities
To our knowledge, this will be the first protected bike lane–or temporary bike lane, for that matter–ever built in Marin. Protected bike lanes provide physical protection and separation from vehicular traffic, so they work well for everyone, from the strong and confident to children and their families.
If you want to learn more about protected bike lanes, the People for Bikes “Protected Bike Lanes 101” is a good resource.
Trial Bike Projects Overcome Fear of Change
As highlighted in our two part recap of last year’s MCBC Speaker Series on demonstration projects, this style of public engagement allows for a more open and involved planning process. Without committing to long-term change informed only by studies and proposals, planners can see how users physically engage with proposed changes. Traffic impacts, levels of use, and any unforeseen impacts are easily observed by the City and used to inform future decisions.
On paper, projects like this one might scare those fearful of traffic or parking impacts. By doing this on a temporary, short-term basis, however, the City will be able to use trial and error before committing to lasting changes, and the public will able to re-imagine familiar streets.
How You Can Help
By testing this new bike lane, you will be directly contributing to the planning process. City officials will be counting users and measuring impact; if feedback is positive and the lane is well-used, the City will be more likely to move towards long-term improvements on Tamalpais.
The City is currently looking for volunteers to help direct people biking through the area to use the temporary bike lanes. To volunteer, email Lauren Davini at the San Rafael Department of Public Works: email@example.com.