Marin County Bike Lanes and Paths Inventory: Day 1

13 Oct

Marin County was one of 4 communities across the United States, selected for the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program in 2006. The program designated $25 million to each community to build a bicycle and pedestrian network that would demonstrate the extent to which bicycling and walking could represent a major portion of the transportation solution. Over the past 4 years, Marin county has made improvements to its existing bicycle and pedestrian network and added new bike lanes and bicycle detectors as well.

My job over the next few weeks is to inventory all of Marin’s bicycle lanes and paths which includes multi-use paths, bicycle lanes, and shared roads which are categorized as class 1, 2, and 3 bikeways, respectively. For better or worse, bike routes will flip flop between classes or have multiple riding options, like a multi-use path beside a bike lane. It is my task to inventory these nuances while making note of the mileage in order to update the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) with the county’s current facilities.

I decided to break up the county into its cities and tackle each one, one at a time. I opted to start with Novato and work my way south so that on my last day I’d ride across the Golden Gate Bridge… finally… Spelled out, It’s a daunting task, but no more so than cycling across the countrywho does that anyway?

Day 1!

I cycled north along the Pacheco Hill multi-use path connecting San Rafael and Novato for bicycle and pedestrian traffic and parallels Highway 101. The multi-use path ends at the intersection of Alameda Del Prado and Nave Dr, but the northbound bike lane doesn’t begin until after the intersection and the 101 on-ramp/off-ramps, so cyclists must be aware of merging traffic as they ride on the road.

Once I cleared the highway ramps, the Alameda del Prado bike lane began. This class 2 route continued uninterrupted until the T intersection of Alameda del Prado & Ignacio Blvd. I then decided to follow the bike lane on Ignacio Blvd westward where it ended at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus. From there I looped back and returned to the Alameda del Prado & Ignacio Blvd intersection. I wanted to cover as much ground as possible without overlapping too much. So I pulled out the MCBC map and after some consideration, I decided it would be best to divide Novato up into at least 2 days- I’d continue Day 1 riding the perimeter bike lanes and then tackle the downtown area and its local bike paths another day.

I had a few unexpected adventures over the course of the day. I discovered a class 2 bike lane in Bel Marin Keys that wasn’t on the MCBC map. That was far more exciting than I’d like to admit. It was a thrill to ride on Highway 37 and across a “narrow bridge” that made me cringe as cars zoomed past. And I’ll never forget riding down Marin’s most dubious bike path complete with cracked pavement, defaced signs, and railroad tracks just to top it off. Although, for the most part, my day was spent riding very deliberately and slowly while stopping every few miles to take a snapshot of an intersection or jot down notes.

Day 1 was a little shaky. Honestly, I didn’t realize how long it would take to do a thorough inventory of the area’s bike lanes. It’s far more time consuming than I had anticipated because I hadn’t factored in the time it would take to document my progress during the ride. Slight oversight… I’ll do better on Day 2!

6 Responses to “Marin County Bike Lanes and Paths Inventory: Day 1”

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