Great turnout at the August 26 TAM Working Group meeting at the Corte Madera Community Center
Lots more information to see:
- Analysis of the TAM Working Group's recommendations here
- Analysis of why the Caltrans-TAM northbound plan won't work here
- Terrific Marin Voice by Corte Madera Mayor Diane Furst here
- Puzzling Marin Voice by Supervisor Katie Rice here
- Letter submitted to the IJ by MDB member John Robbins in response to Rice here
- Staff report by TAM for Thursday's board meeting here (click on attachment for item #7 for staff report)
Overview of TAM Working Group Recommendations:
The TAM Working Group recommendations comprise a comprehensive plan to address the many contributing factors that lead to heavy peak-hour congestion in the Greenbrae Corridor. These include widening Hwy. 101 through the corridor, widening the onramp from Greenbrae to southbound 101, improving bike/pedestrian facilities to encourage people to get out of their cars (especially children travelling to school), and finally beginning to address three key issues outside the defined project area: widening East Sir Francis Drake Blvd., improving the eastbound approach to the Richmond Bridge, and finally studying a direct 101-580 connection. Together these will form a cohesive solution without creating an L.A.-style maze of freeway flyover ramps.
#1: Build a new auxiliary lane from the eastbound Tamalpais Drive onramp to the Wornum hump, where it will meet up with the existing auxiliary lane to form a continuous 5th lane all the way to the Sir Francis Drake Blvd (SFDB) offramp.
Benefit: Closes a gap between two existing segments of auxiliary lane; connected lane
will reduce congestion due to merging
#2: No elevated flyover "braided ramp" configuration as in the TAM Build plan
Benefits: 1) Maintains easy access to westbound SFDB for Ross Valley residents that they currently enjoy; 2) Eliminates need for massive expansion of Wornum Drive, with multiple intersections; 3) Eliminates massive elevated structure
#1: Widen the creek crossing from Greenbrae to southbound 101 to 3 lanes, with the right lane a dedicated Fifer
Benefit: Eliminates the bottleneck that currently exists on ramp over Corte Madera Creek, and has potential for eliminating the weave approaching Fifer.
#2: Build a new auxiliary lane from SFDB onramp to Tamalpais Drive
Benefit: Improve merge/weave conditions between Corte Madera Creek and Tamalpais Drive.
#3: Widen the offramp to eastbound SFDB to 2 lanes
Benefit: Increases capacity/storage on offramp to East SFDB and the creek crossing.
#4: Create a right turn from eastbound Fifer Ave. to southbound Nellen
Benefit: A right turn from eastbound Fifer Ave. to southbound Nellen will allow Larkspur traffic to use Nellen to reach Wornum and the east side of 101, which will help ease congestion at Tamal Vista and Wornum.
#5: No elevated flyover "braided ramp" configuration as in the TAM Build Plan
Benefit: Eliminates the southbound flyover that engendered so much public opposition, eliminates need for massive expansion of Wornum Drive, and helps to preserve views of Mt. Tamalpais.
#1: Complete the North-South Greenway, in phases, as follows:
1. Pathway with under crossings, or if infeasible then safe crossings, along Wornum from the Sandra Marker Trail at Tamal Vista to the east side of Redwood Hwy
2. Pathway from Redwood Hwy. to trestle along railroad right-of-way (behind Cost Plus and Trader Joe's)
3. New dedicated pathway over creek if feasible, with a preference for a new bridge. Second choice is renovation of old trestle for bike/pedestrian use. If neither is feasible, then N-S Greenway would utilize the widened pathway along offramp (see next recommendation)¬¬
Benefit: Finally connects major segments of several routes of regional and local importance, including: the North-South Greenway, Bay Trail, Central Marin Ferry Connection Project Phase 2, designated safe routes to school, connection to Larkspur Ferry Terminal, bus stops and connects two sides of Corte Madera.
#2: Widen pathway on existing northbound SFDB offramp
Benefit: Expands current substandard bike/ped pathway on east side over Corte Madera Creek to Class 1 multiuse pathway standards.
#3: Retain the existing pedestrian overcrossing
Benefit: Retains a safe, direct and attractive route for pedestrians traveling between east and west Larkspur.
#4: Include a new bike/pedestrian overcrossing near Tamalpais Dr. in long-range transportation plans
Benefit: Creates a safe, direct and attractive route for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders in an underserved and dangerous but highly travelled locale. Would also greatly enhance regional bike/ped connectivity to Mill Valley and the Bay Trail.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY:
#1: A direct 101-580 connection in San Rafael
Benefit: A direct 101-580 connection would eliminate the need for freeway-to-freeway traffic to exit the freeway and take a surface street with three stoplights, thus creating significant region-wide backups.
#2: Improvements to the approach and merge onto the Richmond Bridge
Benefit: Improvements to the approach to the Richmond Bridge would increase throughput onto the bridge span and help relieve the afternoon backup onto both 580 and East SFDB.
#3: Widening of East SFDB
Benefit: Widening of East SFDB would eliminate the bottleneck that currently exists and contributes to traffic congestion.
Recap of the Working Group's final recommendations:
August 27, 2013
The TAM Working Group finalized its recommendations that will be going to the full TAM Board at its Sept. 26 meeting. In a meeting lasting more than 5 hours, the Working Group was finally able to distill months of work on freeway and bike/pedestrian options down to a series of recommendations for the TAM Board. These recommendations will be coupled with suggestions for further study of alternative options to relieve congestion in the area. The TAM Working Group recommends:
- No elevated flyover "braided ramp" configuration as in the TAM Build plan
- Build a new auxiliary lane from the eastbound Tamalpais Drive onramp to the Wornum hump, where it will meet up with the existing auxiliary lane to form a continuous 5th lane all the way to the Sir Francis Drake Blvd. (SFDB) off ramp
- No elevated flyover "braided ramp" configuration as in the TAM Build plan
- Widen the creek crossing from Greenbrae to southbound 101 to 3 lanes, with the right lane dedicated to Fifer
- Build a new auxiliary lane from SFDB onramp to Tamalpais Drive
- Widen the offramp to eastbound SFDB to 2 lanes
- Create a right turn from eastbound Fifer Ave. to southbound Nellen, which will allow Larkspur traffic to use Nellen to reach Wornum and the east side of 101, which will help ease congestion at Tamal Vista and Wornum
- Complete the North-South Greenway, in phases as follows:
- Widen pathway on existing northbound SFDB offramp
- Pathway with under crossings, or if infeasible then safe crossings, along Wornum from the Sandra Marker Trail at Tamal Vista to the east side of Redwood Hwy
- Pathway from Redwood Hwy. to trestle along railroad right-of-way (behind Cost Plus and Trader Joe's)
- New dedicated pathway over creek if feasible, with a preference for a new bridge. Second choice is renovation of old trestle for bike/pedestrian use. If neither is feasible, then N-S Greenway would utilize the widened pathway along offramp (see next bullet point)
- Retain the existing pedestrian overcrossing.
- Direct connection of 101 and 580 in San Rafael
- Improvements to approach and merge onto the Richmond Bridge
- Widening of East SFDB
We will post more information soon about how these recommendations can work together to form a viable plan to reduce congestions in the area. Stay tuned also for an analysis of why the Working Group rejected the TAM Build project and how it would not have solved the most pressing problems in the Greenbrae Corridor.
Read about the meeting in the IJ here.
Recommendation to the TAM Board:
August 26, 2013
We respectfully submit the following to the TAM Working Group, TAM Staff and TAM Consultants:
Marin Deserves Better's support for any Build proposal will be contingent on the following options being included and implemented in the project. (And conversely, because of the broad community concerns over these issues we very strongly prefer a No Build option over any design that does not fully address all of them.)
A proposal that we can support must...
1. Provide an auxiliary freeway traffic lane both Northbound and Southbound between Tamalpais and Sir Francis Drake.
2. Retain the Fifer/Lucky offramp and onramp access, with additional lanes over Corte Madera Creek from Sir Francis Drake to Hwy 101 Southbound.
3. Keep Nellen open and allow a right turn from Fifer Avenue onto Nellen Avenue Southbound.
4. Not involve any "braided flyover" structures either Northbound or Southbound.
Issues 1-4 were the subject of our MDB Southbound concept. We view the only feasible options on the Southbound side as being either No Build Southbound or some reasonable version of the Southbound options we have listed above.
5. Have no massive retaining walls facing neighborhoods or blocking views.
6. Retain the existing Pedestrian Overcrossing to serve students, local residents and transit users, and also keep the bus stops in the current locations.
7. Create completely safe, separate and conflict-free pedestrian and bike crossings at Tamal Vista and at Redwood Highway. To be explicit, this can't be done on the surface with crosswalks and traffic lights, and we view it as critical that pedestrians and bicyclist be able to cross underneath these busy streets.
Issues 5, 6 and 7 above were included in our original "Land Bridge" option which you referred to as "MDB-1 NB". After looking more closely at this, we also presented an option produced by Steve Cardellini ("MDB-2 NB") that seemed to us to be a very modest variation of your own Northbound Build alternative that we would consider supporting if our concerns above as to pedestrian and bicycle safety, as well as visual impacts, are satisfactorily addressed.
8. Include a phased plan for the completion of the North-South Greenway between the Sandra Marker Trail and the California Park Tunnel along the former railroad-right-of-way east of Hwy 101.
From Marin Deserves Better
August 26, 2013
A word about multi-modal infrastructure:
Marin Deserves Better believes we should encourage biking and walking by providing safe and separate routes to major destinations including schools, workplaces, transit stops, the ferry terminal and major shopping destinations.
And imagine what a couple of state-of-the-art
undercrossings would do to
SAFELY AND COMPLETELY SEPARATE
BICYCLISTS AND WALKERS FROM VEHICLE TRAFFIC
See our plan here, or download it:
Bicycle-Pedestrian and Transit Plan:
Map here (3 MB) and Report here (1 MB)
Please help us get the word out!
Tell the Board members of the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) what you think. They will be the ultimate decision makers on this issue. Full roster of members and alternates is here, or use our handy copy-and-paste list as follows:
Emails of all TAM board members, alternates, and the TAM executive director: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
In addition, contact the TAM Working Group members to voice your preference on the design elements you would like to see considered by the project team.
Emails of all TAM Working Group members, alternates, and the TAM executive director:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Update on northbound freeway concepts:
August 25, 2013
The Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) and Caltrans have determined that all alternative northbound freeway plans, including two ideas that were put forth by Marin Deserves Better, have flaws that render them unacceptable in meeting Caltrans standards. Unless their position changes, this leaves only two options on the table: the TAM Build plan that engendered so much public opposition, or no project. If you would like to learn more about the second MDB northbound plan, watch this video.
The northbound freeway and bicycle-pedestrian plans will be discussed and voted on at the Aug. 26 TAM Working Group meeting.
A message from Marin Deserves Better:
June 2, 2013
The Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) and Caltrans have proposed a massive freeway project for the segment of the Highway 101 corridor that runs through Larkspur and Corte Madera between the Greenbrae Interchange and the Tamalpais Interchange. When TAM's Build Plan was unveiled late last year, widespread public outrage was expressed over the project's scale, the $148,000,000 cost, and the impact on local streets, among other objections.
TAM chose not to do an Environmental Impact Report on the project, issuing an Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration instead. 268 comment letters objecting to the NegDec were submitted to Caltrans by elected officials, government agencies, civic organizations, environmental groups, school officials, and many, many individual citizens opposing TAM's Build Plan.
In February, TAM's Executive Director, Dianne Steinhauser, told opponents of the project, "If you don't like it, come up with something better." So, we formed a grassroots group called Marin Deserves Better and established a task force that has met every Friday morning for the past three months to produce an alternative project plan that is less massive, less intrusive, less costly, and makes better sense.
Our alternative plan, which has two options for one of the ramps at Sir Francis Drake Blvd, is now complete and has been submitted to TAM. You can view the entire PDF file that contains our two maps and 48 pages of supplemental information by clicking here and downloading it to your computer (note: very large file, 130MB). The large, high-resolution maps need to be viewed on a computer screen rather than a smartphone or tablet in order to show details clearly.
TAM has scheduled an open house on Monday, June 10, from 4 to 5pm for the public to see all seven alternative proposals that have been submitted. The 7-to-10-minute presentations of the alternatives will follow at 5pm. The meeting will be in the Tamalpais Room at the San Rafael Corporate Center at 750 Lindaro Street, between 2nd Street and Anderson Drive, unless TAM changes the location if they decide a larger venue will be needed.
We hope to see you on June 10.
Marin Deserves Better
For regular updates on this project, visit us on Facebook!
Who we are:
Marin Deserves Better (MDB) an ad hoc group of local citizens committed to finding an alternative to the massive freeway construction proposed by Caltrans and the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) through the communities of Corte Madera and Larkspur. Our desire is to see Caltrans and TAM reconsider the Highway 101 Greenbrae-Twin Cities Corridor Freeway Project so it will resolve safety concerns, reduce congestion, facilitate the flow of local traffic, improve pedestrian and bike facilities, and preserve the magnificent views of Mt. Tamalpais and the bay marshlands. MDB also wants to ensure that everyone who travels in the corridor is taken into consideration in the plans, including pedestrians, bikers and transit users as well as motorists.
Status of the proposed project by the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) and Caltrans:
TAM and Caltrans issued a draft environmental report on the Highway 101 Greenbrae-Twin Cities Corridor Improvement Project in December 2012. The document evaluated a "Build" option and a "No-build" option, but no other alternatives. During the public comment period for the environmental document, there was overwhelming public opposition to the project. The opposition was due to many factors, including an intrusive 33-foot-high flyover off-ramp in Corte Madera, a massive 400' long retaining wall (reaching 24' at its highest) along Redwood Highway across from Cost Plus, removal of the bicycle/pedestrian freeway over-crossing near Lucky Drive, potentially dangerous crosswalks on Wornum Drive (a main route for schoolchildren), permanent closure of a public street, inferior plans for bus stop locations, lack of flooding mitigation measures, and others. It was also discovered that the collision data that was being used to help justify the project was incorrect.
Due to the extent of the opposition to the "Build" project that was reviewed in their environmental document, TAM convened a Working Group of elected officials from neighboring jurisdictions and the county to try to build consensus on an alternative project design. The Working Group is looking at past concepts and will be reviewing new submissions from the public in an attempt to develop a viable alternative to the "Build" plan. The deadline for submissions by the public was May 28, and the TAM Board must have an acceptable plan submitted to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority by Oct. 1 if it is to retain the $48 million in Regional Measure 2 funding that has been earmarked for this corridor. All TAM Working Group meetings are open to the public. Information about meetings can be found on the TAM website here and here.
TAM has also announced it is holding off for the time being on producing written responses to the public comments that were made on the environmental document.
What Marin Deserves Better is doing:
MDB has gathered a group of very talented local residents, with skills including engineering, technical design, construction, multi-modal transportation, etc., to design an alternative project that takes into consideration many of the shortcomings that were identified during the "Build" project's public comment period. We have been hard at work pouring over lots of research and technical data that had already been compiled by TAM and Caltrans' project team, and have refined a design that we believe includes some of the best parts of the "Build" project, but without the major negatives and with a few new features that we hope will address some of the shortcomings of the "Build" plan. We also believe our project will not cost the taxpayers nearly as much.
We submited our plan to TAM and presented it to the Working Group at its June 10 open house and meeting.
Please visit us on Facebook!
Some images to remind you why we don't want Caltrans to build their project:
This retaining wall will run 400' and reach 24' at it's highest point, and will block views across from Cost Plus and Trader Joes. And it will also block highway drivers from seeing our local businesses. Yet the draft environmental report claims this project will have no impact on our community.
(And just imagine this massive wall covered with graffiti)
The TAM/Caltrans "Build" project would leave us with sixteen freeway lanes in the heart of the Twin Cities. And that doesn't even count three lanes on Redwood Highway. That's a lot of pavement.
Let's hope TAM's Working Group will embrace a better design.
There are many significant problems with the proposed "Build" project, including:
1. It does not increase capacity on the freeway
2. It does not address the existing flooding issues, nor does it address future sea level rise
3. It does not adequately address the traffic congestion on Sir Francis Drake Blvd., especially traffic to and from 580 and the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge
4. It will cost $143 million
5. It will have massive view impacts as a flyover offramp, two elevated exit lanes and very extensive concrete retaining walls will be constructed.
6. These massive structures are out of character with the surrounding small towns
7. It will deliver Larkspur-bound traffic from southbound 101 onto Wornum, and then to Tamal Vista, increasing traffic congestion on already busy two-lane Tamal Vista.
8. It will eliminate the bicycle/pedestrian overcrossing over 101, and redirect these users to an extremely busy and unsafe intersection at Wornum, where three freeway ramps and multiple road crossings will be constructed which will need be traversed by bike/ped users.
9. The data show the area to have a lower-than-average collision rate.
10. A project such as this that has the potential for significant impacts to views, local traffic, noise or the environment legally requires a full Environmental Impact Report, yet the Transportation Authority of Marin and Caltrans are only completing a less-rigorous Mitigated Negative Declaration, a violation of the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
11. It does not consider population and traffic increases from development on Tamal Vista (180 units) or the Larkspur SMART station are (900+ units).
12. The planning process has eliminated other, less massive and less expensive options, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any other options.
The good news is that a strong, insistent public can stop this project and insist we explore alternatives that will better serve the community at a lower cost.
Animations that simulate the driving experience can be viewed
using the following web links:
Driver's View: http://www.youtube.com/embed/z7xK-Ck3-No"
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