Sir Francis Drake Blvd. FAQs

Board of Supervisors
  • Why/how did the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard renaming process get started and what's the current status?

    This past June, residents young and old, from different backgrounds and experience, all people who call Marin home -- joined in the nationwide movement to acknowledge and address the historic social and institutional racism, injustice and inequality that persist in our country and county. They demanded that our public institutions examine and right policy and practices that work against inclusion and racial equity. And they called for the removal of public monuments of individuals associated with slavery and oppression. That call centered around effigies honoring Sir Francis Drake – a statue in Larkspur, a high school in San Anselmo, and a road – Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

    In response to residents calling for SFD Blvd. name change, Supervisors Rice and Rodoni (District 2 and District 4 respectively) convened a cross jurisdictional “Working Group” comprised of council representatives from each of the city/towns through which Sir Francis Drake Blvd. runs – Larkspur, Ross, San Anselmo and Fairfax – in addition to unincorporated areas along the SFD Corridor. A small portion of the road runs through San Rafael. The City of San Rafael has agreed to incorporate whatever decision is made by the Working Group.

    The Working Group met several times, researched the regulatory process for road renaming, cost and process for property owners, and other questions raised by residents and discussed next steps for community outreach and decision making. At its November meeting, the Working Group agreed to break next steps into two phases. Phase 1) Do we move forward with a renaming? Phase 2) What will the renaming process be? During the first phase, each council/jurisdiction will take up the renaming discussion and decision making at the local level engaging with their respective communities in a manner consistent with their local practices, and concluding with a public hearing to decide whether to rename the road within that jurisdiction. The five agencies agreed to complete this “Phase 1” process by March 31, 2021.

  • Who is responsible for deciding if SFD Blvd name will be changed?

    Each jurisdiction (County, Larkspur, Ross, San Anselmo, Fairfax) will ultimately be responsible for deciding if the road name will be changed for the section in their city/town/county.

  • What happens if not all jurisdictions decide to move forward with a name change?

    If that's the case, parts of SFD could remain Sir Francis Drake Blvd. and other portions of the road could have a new name. Discretion over street names sits with the planning jurisdiction. That said, the Working Group felt strongly that uniformity of name would be the preferred outcome.

  • What is the County's process for Phase 1 and how can I participate?

    Note that each jurisdiction will have its own process including opportunities for residents and other stakeholders to participate. County of Marin process for the communities along SFD the unincorporated area will be as follows:

    • January 25 (6pm) - Zoom Informational meeting for residents/businesses along SFD corridor in the unincorporated area of both the Ross Valley (District 2) and West Marin (District 4). Meeting will include a summary of outreach to date, presentation of the research gathered (e.g. cost, impact to businesses/residents), historical information on naming of road, Q/A from residents.
    • - Watch Zoom meeting at or call (669) 900-6833
      - Meeting ID: 994 2269 4295, Attendee ID: #, Password: 212141
      - English with Spanish interpretation, ASL/CDI and captions available
    • February – multiple community level “zooms” to hear from residents
    • March – tentative Board of Supervisors hearing on March 9 for discussion/direction on whether to move forward with renaming (Agenda will be posted on the BOS meeting webpage 5 days prior to the hearing).
  • If a name change moves forward, when and how, will it be decided?

    In April 2021, the SFD Working Group (those jurisdictions that decide to move forward with a name change) will determine a name selection process. The goal would be to determine a new name prior to the completion of the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard Improvement Project (fall 2021).

  • How much will it cost county / cities / towns to change the name?

    Costs for the name change would depend on the number of standard and traffic signal signs to be replaced and staff time to manage/coordinate in all jurisdictions – unincorporated Marin, Larkspur, Ross, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Caltrans (signs on 101), San Rafael (freeway on and off ramp). Estimated total cost (if all jurisdictions agreed to name change) would be $134,000. Breakout of costs per jurisdiction varies depending on number of signs/type of signage along with any other potentially related needs.

  • Where will the funds come from to change the name?

    That is yet to be determined. Each jurisdiction could be responsible for their own costs or grants or other funding could be sought.

  • How many homes and businesses would be directly affected if the name changes?

    A total of 641 parcels, including both residential and commercial would be affected (Breakdown - Fairfax: 69; Larkspur: 17; Ross: 52; San Anselmo: 153; Unincorporated: 350).

  • What would residents and businesses on SFD need to do if name changed?

    Jurisdictions will notify the County Assessor/Recorder of road name change, and as to parcels affected. No government filings would be required of property owners.

    Jurisdictions will notify US Postal Service of road name changes, so residents/businesses won’t have to notify the Post Office. After the effective date of the name change, USPS guarantees 18-month “forwarding period” and “forwards” mail the same as if a resident or business filed a change of address. Most delivery services and internet map programs rely on USPS database and will slowly pick up the name change.

    Action needed for residents/businesses: Residents are advised to obtain a new driver’s license (and any other form of identification) within 18-months of the effective date of the name change to coincide with the USPS process.

  • Could a ballot measure be considered to allow a broader range of people to weigh in? And how much would it cost?
    Yes, renaming could be put on the ballot either through petition/signature gathering, or by the local jurisdiction. There would be an associated cost. A special election ballot costs approx. $7-$10/voter. If a general election ballot, estimated $2/voter.
  • Why not postpone the SFD naming discussion and focus our efforts 100% on the pandemic?

    The County’s number one priority is the health and safety of its residents. Combatting COVID, making sure everyone in our community has access to testing, vaccination, and resources is the primary focus. While the SFD renaming discussion is taking up some community conversation bandwidth, it has not diverted time, resources, or attention from the pandemic response or any of the other critical government functions, programs, or projects. That said, it does have a direct correlation to the County’s COVID challenge and the equity work that is also a county priority.

    The Pandemic has had disproportionate impact on poor people, which here in Marin, as across the nation are most often people of color. COVID has brought to the forefront of our county and country’s national discourse historic and persistent inequity in our county and country, and the systemic racism that is the foundation for that inequity.

    The renaming discussion is an opportunity to learn more about this place we live, the people who have lived here, to connect the past with the present, to think about community values in the context of the times we live. And then, to use the discussion and learning to inform action we take as individuals and as a community towards truly making Marin County an inclusive, equitable, welcoming place for all.

  • Where can I learn more? What resources are available?

    In June, the SFD Working Group hosted a community wide “Zoom” listening session. Community members were invited to voice their opinions on the zoom, or via email. Click here to view.

    In August, in response to the range of comments, questions, varying historical accounts coming out of listening session, the Working Group partnered with the Marin County Free Library (MCFL) to host a learning session. The Forum, via zoom, provided perspective/historical account on Drake the man, SFD the road, and the Coast Miwok people. Visit the Marin County Free Library’s Drake Boulevard History Resource Page to review the learning session in both English and Spanish as well as online resources about Sir Francis Drake, about the Boulevard (click here for Dewey Livingston’s “Sir Francis Drake Boulevard: Road of Many Names”) and about Coast Miwok history.

  • Where can I send comments or suggestions? And where do I sign up for updates?

    Please send comments to Supervisor Katie Rice or Supervisor Dennis Rodoni and put SFD in the subject. To get updates, subscribe to the District 2 newsletter and/or the District 4 newsletter.