State eyes Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike path safety project

Thousands of cyclists using the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge bike path to connect to Marin might get a safer ride with a new $4.3 million infusion in state funding.

Beginning in November 2019, the Bay Area’s first transbay bike path led cyclists from the bridge onto Marin roads with little or no developed bicycle lanes, posing a potential risk of a vehicle collision. This latest project by local and state agencies would extend an existing 10-foot-wide sidewalk on Francisco Boulevard East in San Rafael from the western end of the bridge bike path and connect cyclists to existing bike lanes into downtown San Rafael.

Cycling groups and advocates said the project is a key overdue improvement to allow cyclists to access San Rafael and Marin’s network of paths, including the Bay Trail.

“It creates an all-ages-and-ability facility: You can bike with your kid; you can bike with your mom,” said Warren Wells of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. “It’s separate from the cars all the way down.”

Currently, cyclists traveling west off the bridge into Marin County are funneled to Francisco Boulevard East, which has a sidewalk that ends after a quarter-mile. Bicyclists must then share the road with other vehicles.

Last week, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted unanimously to approve $4.3 million in state grant funds to extend the sidewalk another quarter-mile to Grange Avenue. From there, cyclists can cross the street to an already-completed bike lane along the westbound Interstate 580 flyover that takes them to Andersen Drive, leading into downtown San Rafael or to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard toward Larkspur.

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The project also includes a crossing beacon with flashing lights to warn drivers of cyclists and pedestrians crossing Francisco Boulevard East to the flyover bike path.

The California Transportation Commission must give final approval to the funds. A vote is set for May 12.

If approved, construction could begin by the fall and be completed before the end of the year, according to Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman John Goodwin.

The total cost of the project is about $5.6 million, of which the remaining $1.3 million will be covered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, according to Anne Richman, executive director of the Transportation Authority of Marin.

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The $20 million path is part of a four-year pilot project led by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Caltrans, among other agencies. Monthly crossing data show that 3,700 …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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