Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lucas Valley Road 'Safe Passage' Project Breaks Ground After 6 Years

The sidewalk project, which first started in 2006, will go before the Marin Board of Supervisors at their Tuesday meeting.
Six years ago, neighbors in North San Rafael embarked on a plan to make a sidewalk along the south side of Lucas Valley Road safer for pedestrians. Next month, they will be celebrating their tenacity with a ground-breaking ceremony.

“We’re just elated,” said Ray Lorber, one of the directors for the Safe Passage Along Lucas Valley Road project. “I sent out an email to over 65 people who helped throughout the years thanking them.”

When complete, the sidewalk–which continues between Las Gallinas Avenue and Los Gamos Drive–will allow neighbors to access bus service at US-101, the 101 Lucas Valley Road office building and Marin YMCA.
The Marin Board of Supervisors will approve a $785,000-bid from San Rafael construction company Ghilotti Bros. for the project in their Aug. 14 meeting. The total construction will cost approximately $864,000.

The project is part of a larger plan to improve conditions for pedestrians throughout Marin. The Lucas Valley Road portion will see 2,200 feet of a new sidewalk and bike lane and four new curb ramps for those with wheelchairs.
“This gateway to San Rafael was one of the very few arteries off Highway 101 that had no place for pedestrians or cyclists.  It was a missing link,” said Carolyn Lenert, resident of the North San Rafael Coalition of Residents and co-director of the project.

Lorber and the Mont Marin Homeowners Association first initiated the project in 2006. At that time, pedestrians could not safely walk along the south side of Lucas Valley Road. “With 45 mph traffic, you might as well have been walking on a freeway,” he said.

Lenert and Lorber raised a small sum of money to fund the project. Minimal safety lighting and no parking signs have already been installed to improve traffic safety. Over the past 45 months, volunteers showed up for quarterly “75 Minute Saturday Clean-Ups” to remove the vegetation that prevented pedestrians from using the shoulder of the road.

“It has taken 7 years, but soon the pedestrians will have a better choice than walking on the road with 45 mph traffic or in the mud and dirt of the slanting shoulder,” Lorber said. “When completed, the corridor will be safer."

In March 2007, Mark McMillan survived after being hit by a speeding truck veering out of its lane in the area. “I do truly hope that the powers that be can come to a conclusion that will increase the safety for pedestrians and bicyclists alike. It will be better for wildlife, our pets, children, recreational and commuting neighbors," he recently told Lorber and Lenert.

"Finally, something wonderful has come from Mark’s horrific accident and his hope is realized," they said.
Want to join in the celebration? The ground-breaking ceremony will take place on Sept. 4 at 2 p.m. at the intersection of Los Gamos and Lucas Valley Road.