Category Archives: Safe Pathways

Neighbors and parents audit safety issues on McAllister in Kentfield

Acting Locally for Safety

Neighborhood Safety Committees

A group of parents and neighbors hovered together observing the drop off on McAllister Avenue in Kentfield. Students from Kent Middle School and Bacich Elementary School were dodging cars to get to their respective schools. Fed up with the frightening situation on McAllister, a major thoroughfare for students going to both schools, parents and neighbors were adamant that the kids need a safe place to walk and bike to school and took action.

With the help of Supervisor Katie Rice’s office they are finally seeing some real solutions.   Rice helped the neighbors to form a Neighborhood Safety Committee and brought the county public works, CHP, Sheriff, and Safe Routes to Schools to the table. The County and Safe Routes engineering team worked together to develop recommendations and incremental changes that ultimately would create a much safer route along this well traveled corridor. Now this committee is clamoring for funding for implementation.

This is the third Neighborhood Safety Committee that has been organized by Rice. One in Sleepy Hollow has developed an outreach and education campaign as well as seeing some much needed signage improvements in their neighborhood. Oak Manor in Fairfax is also developing outreach materials and is looking forward to getting a speed feedback sign on the downhill direction to caution drivers to slow down.

In San Rafael, Supervisor Connolly’s office is working with Safe Routes to Schools to help the Terra Linda neighbors address the congestion caused by multiple schools and Kaiser in a small six block area. They are developing some creative outreach approaches while the City of San Rafael looks at some of the intersections and crossing guard needs.

Another committee is forming in the Canal through Supervisor Kinsey’s office. These neighborhood committees are an offshoot of the SR2S Task Forces. The Task Forces work on a district level to identify and address safety issues for all the schools. These committees are under the direction of the County Supervisors’ aides and invite a larger audience to participate, especially neighborhood associations; they meet more frequently over a short period of time to develop neighborhood specific strategies at a grassroots level.

Support from our County Supervisors forwards the SR2S Task Force’s goal to prioritize safety concerns which require infrastructure changes and implementation of crossing guards.  Through this collaboration, parents can proactively seek changes, which enable students to continue their walking and biking independence, rather than reverting back to reliance on cars.

Too often, neighbors are pitted against interest groups and they all demand action from government. In these committees, all the stakeholders are working together. They share a common goal – safety for the kids, for seniors, for pedestrian and bicyclists and, yes for motorists too. As more and more students and adults alike are choosing walking and biking for their transportation needs, the importance of conscious and alert behavior on the part of all users becomes more crucial. These Neighborhood Safety Committees are an important step in achieving that goal through grassroots education and essential infrastructure improvements. For more information contact Wendi Kallins


lagunitas_crosswalk low rez

Funding Rolling in for School Pathway Improvements

By Wendi Kallins

Walking and rolling to school is about to get safer thanks to a new infusion of funds from the Transportation Authority of Marin.  Over $4 million was recently approved for 27 school-related projects through TAM’s Safe Pathway program.

Soon parents and children will see newly painted crosswalks, flashing beacons, new and repaired sidewalks, better pathways, and improved intersections at schools throughout the county.

Tiburon concept planIn Tiburon, a vital intersection across Tiburon Boulevard that leads to Bel Aire School will have special green-striped bike lanes providing easier access to Blackfield drive along with other improvements.  Last school year, the Town of Tiburon had funded a weekly bike train with paid conductors.  This year, volunteers have taken over and are now riding together almost daily.  This intersection has been a problem area due to the high traffic levels and travel speeds.  The improvements will go a long way to improving the safety of the bike train to be able to navigate the intersection without conflicting with cars for space.

Fairfax pioneered the two-mile long Bike Spine, a series of signage and pavement markings bike spinealong the neighborhood routes to school.  They will now use their $350,000 grant to complete the pathway’s last gap between Oak Manor Drive to White Hill School, allowing students to ride along busy Sir Frances Drake Boulevard on a separated pathway for the last stretch.

Residents of the Canal area of San Rafael have had to ride alongside automobiles on the narrow Grand Ave Bridge that leads to San Rafael High School, Montecito Shopping Center and Downtown San Rafael.  A new bridge, funded with the $824,000 grant will provide pedestrians and bicyclists with a much safer way to travel outside the Canal neighborhood.

Neighbors of Olive School on Plum Street in Novato have been waiting for years to see some sidewalks improved on this important passage to the school.  Thanks to the Safe Pathways grant their waiting is over.

What is Safe Pathways?

Lagunitas conceptThe Safe Pathways program is a capital improvement element of the Safe Routes to Schools Program under Measure A.  The $4.1 million that was just approved includes funds from transportation sales tax revenues, from MTC’s One Bay Area Grant, and from other sources.

In this round, the request for proposals allowed the jurisdictions to choose between small and large projects.  The small projects had to be under $25,000 and be completed within one year of funding allocation.  Small projects include installation of traffic safety devices such as the rectangular rapid flashing beacons and speed feedback signs.

$3,850,000 was set aside for large project applications requesting up to $350,000, except for projects requesting federal OBAG funds which had no maximum limit (i.e. the San Rafael Grand Street Bridge).  These projects mostly consist of sidewalk construction and new bike lanes.

How Were Projects Evaluated?

Larkspur planApplications were evaluated based on the ability to relieve a safety problem on school routes, complete a gap in the bicycle and pedestrian facilities, maximize daily use by students, and attract matching funds.  The TAM staff made sure that there was equitable funding throughout the county.

Large projects needed to be identified as part of each jurisdiction’s Safe Routes to Schools Travel Plans for their schools.  These plans emerged from the Safe Routes to Schools Task Forces which consist of volunteer team leaders, elected school and city officials, law enforcement and public works.  Walk audits gave the task force members an opportunity to identify the problem areas.  The Safe Routes engineering team then worked closely with the local public works to develop concept solutions to be added to the travel plans.


 Small Projects ($25,000 maximum allocation)
Agency   Project Name and Description RecommendedAmount
Fairfax SFD/Taylor Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFB) $25,000
Marin County Changeable Message Sign (CMS) on schools in unincorporated areas $18,000
Marin County SFD/Lagunitas School Road RRFB $25,000
Marin County Butterfield Road/Green Valley Court RRFB $25,000
Marin County Strawberry Drive at Strawberry Point School RRFB $25,000
Mill Valley Throckmorton Sidewalk Gap Closure $25,000
Novato Solar Speed Feedback signs at four designated schools $24,500
Novato Ignacio Blvd/Laurelwood Crosswalk Enhancements $25,000
Novato Ignacio Blvd/Country Club Drive Crosswalk Enhancements $25,000
Novato South Novato Blvd/Lark Court Crosswalk Enhancements $25,000
Novato South Novato Blvd/Yukon Crosswalk Enhancements $25,000
Ross SFD Sidewalk Construction $25,000
San Anselmo SFD Mid-Block Crosswalk Improvements $25,000
San Rafael Solar Powered Crossing Signs at Fifth Avenue and Cottage Avenue $25,000
Tiburon Ned Way/Tiburon Blvd Crosswalk RRFB $25,000
Total $367,500 


 Large Projects ($350,000 maximum allocation)


Agency   Project Name and Description RecommendedAmount


Mill Valley Camino Alto Bike Ped Improvements $350,000
San Rafael Grand Avenue Bike/Ped Bridge $824,000
TAM TAM Junction Class II Bicycle Improvements along Hwy 1 $350,000
Larkspur Doherty Drive Bike Ped Gap Closure $350,000
Novato Plum Street Sidewalk Improvements $350,000
San Anselmo Brookside Elementary School Sidewalk Gap Closure Project $350,000
Tiburon Greenwood Cove/Blackfield & Tiburon Blvd Bike Ped Improvements $116,000
Sausalito/Marin County Bridgeway Pedestrian Improvements:A. Bridgeway Sidewalk Improvements ($204k) for Sausalito

B. Hwy 101 Underpass Lighting Upgrade ($146k) for Marin County.

Fairfax Fairfax Bike Spine Gap Completion Project $350,000
Corte Madera Tamalpais Drive Pedestrian Crossing Enhancements $90,000
Marin County Pedestrian Improvement Project along major school routes. $350,000
San Anselmo San Anselmo School Route Bike Spine Project Contingency
Sausalito Coloma Street and Ebbtide Ave Pedestrian Improvements Contingency
  Total $3,830,000