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.Â 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.
In 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.Â Last school year, the Town of Tiburon had funded a weekly bike train with paid conductors.Â This year, volunteers have taken over and are now riding together almost daily.Â This intersection has been a problem area due to the high traffic levels and travel speeds.Â 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 along the neighborhood routes to school.Â They will now use their $350,000 grant to complete the pathwayâ€™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.Â 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.Â Thanks to the Safe Pathways grant their waiting is over.
What is Safe Pathways?
The Safe Pathways program is a capital improvement element of the Safe Routes to Schools Program under Measure A.Â 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.Â The small projects had to be under $25,000 and be completed within one year of funding allocation.Â 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).Â These projects mostly consist of sidewalk construction and new bike lanes.
How Were Projects Evaluated?
Applications 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â Walk audits gave the task force members an opportunity to identify the problem areas.Â The Safe Routes engineering team then worked closely with the local public works to develop concept solutions to be added to the travel plans.
|Â Small Projects ($25,000 maximum allocation)|
|Agency Â||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|
|Â Large Projects ($350,000 maximum allocation)
|Agency Â||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|