Mill Valley - Sausalito Pathway

Raul M. Rojas, Director, Public Works

Mill Valley – Sausalito Pathway (East Blithedale to Almonte)

The popular Mill Valley-Sausalito Multiuse Pathway was constructed more than 30 years ago and has never had a significant pavement upgrade. With federal grant money in hand, the County of Marin plans to lay a fresh coat of smooth asphalt and make accessibility improvements on almost a mile of the pathway by late 2017.

Mill Valley - Sausalito Pathway

The Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW) will oversee the design and construction of the project on a 4,900-foot-long stretch of the pathway between from East Blithedale Avenue on the north end and Almonte Boulevard to the south. That portion runs along the waterfront of Richardson’s Bay’s Pickleweed Inlet, adjacent to the Mill Valley Community Center, Mill Valley Middle School, the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin, Bothin Marsh and Tamalpais High School. The pathway is heavily used for recreation and bike commuting.

The County of Marin was awarded $320,000 of federal Priority Conservation Area funding, with a $320,000 local match provided by County Parks’ Measure A fund, a quarter-cent retail and use tax passed by local voters in 2012.

DPW aims to design and acquire environmental clearance this year for the work, which will include asphalt resurfacing and installation of new benches with accessible sitting areas.

The County of Marin (DPW, Marin County Parks, and Marin County Sheriff’s Office), the City of Mill Valley, the Marin County Bicycle Coalition and the Marin County Bicycle Advisory Group are collaborating to improve access and safety along the route. Fresh striping and stencils were added recently. In addition to the physical improvements from DPW, there are three other parts of the overall plan:

  • a Share the Path campaign, which promotes safety, trail communication and friendliness;
  • regulatory changes including an enlarged “slow zone” of 10 mph adjacent to Bayfront Park, and;
  • increased enforcement of safety rules and regulations.

The construction contract for this pathway segment between East Blithedale and Almonte Drive was recently awarded to Team Ghilotti in the amount of $384,873 which is fully funded by a Federal Priority Conservation Area grant and Marin County Parks Measure A funds.

Construction is anticipated to begin on September 5th and be completed by October 30th. During the construction, work will be performed to maintain access either through a temporary detour route or by on-path temporary traffic control.

During minor activities, on-path temporary traffic control will be implemented but path users should expect delays. Cyclists should expect to dismount their bicycles at these locations as access during this effort will likely be constrained to a narrower path width.

During major construction activities the path will be closed continuously during the day and night and temporary detour routes will be provided. To minimize inconveniences, the overall project length will be broken up into shorter segments during the full and continuous closures where the cumulative full closure period is not expected to exceed 3 weeks. In addition, the County will work closely with the Contractor with the goal of opening the path to users during the weekends, if possible.

The project, a coordinated effort between Parks and DPW, targeted the September start date to ensure that the nesting season of a shorebird called the Ridgway’s Rail was not impacted. For several months each year, the endangered bird can be found in Bothin Marsh, a 106-acre wetland preserve that is traversed by the multiuse pathway.

The environmental preservation of Bothin Marsh, home to a vital and biologically diverse ecosystem, has played a crucial role in the project’s planning. DPW and Parks have worked closely with specialists to take precautions to ensure that the marshland and wildlife are not adversely impacted by the project. Building on this process, Parks soon will begin developing a Bothin Marsh plan with the community to address sections of the path and marsh south of the current paving project. The goal of the plan will be to safeguard the wildlife habitat and the pathway in light of the region’s expected sea level rise.