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Parking Restrictions on Camino Alto – Why are Cars Allowed to Park in the Bike Lane on Weekdays?

February 4, 2020

City staff have received inquiries from community members about the new parking regulations on Camino Alto between East Blithedale and Miller Avenues. Members of the cycling community have asked why parking is allowed during weekdays in the new bike lanes.

The current configuration is the outcome of a multi-year effort to find a reasonable accommodation of both parking and cyclist needs in this area. The information below gives additional background and information.

Background

Camino Alto is widely used by residents and visitors, with approximately 20,000 vehicles a day and connects many community hubs, schools, residential and recreational areas. In recent years, there have been heightened concerns regarding speed and congestion and the wide variety of user types on the Mill Valley/Sausalito Multi-Use Path (MUP), which runs parallel to Camino Alto along the Bothin Marsh. A handful of accidents and near misses on the MUP highlighted the need to promote the Miller Avenue/Camino Alto corridor as an alternative route to the MUP for more advanced cyclists and as a more direct route to and from neighborhoods north of E. Blithedale Ave and Corte Madera.

In 2017-18 the City applied for, and received the following grants to help complete this bicycle project:

  • The Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), a Federal program to achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads, including non-State-owned roads and roads on tribal land.
  • The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), to divert waste tires from landfill disposal, prevent illegal tire dumping, and promote markets for recycled-content tire products. These are called The Tire-Derived Aggregate (TDA) Grants.
  • The Transportation Fund for Clean Air (TFCA), a program managed by Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) for trip reduction, bike parking and bikeway, and clean air vehicle projects.

The City Council approved the Camino Alto Bike Lanes - South End project to improve bike and pedestrian safety on Camino Alto at their April 2018 City Council meeting. The project included installation of Class II bike lanes, as well as traffic signal upgrades (bicycle detection, pedestrian push buttons, and countdown heads) at four signalized intersections along this corridor. Class II bike lanes along this corridor were identified as a priority project in the City's 2017 Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan, which was prepared with community input via the Mill Valley Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Community Process
The City hired Parisi Transportation Consulting (Parisi) to design the project and to conduct a survey of roadway users. The City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), along with residents, property and business owners along Camino Alto were actively involved in meetings and presentations during the design process, providing input and recommendations toward the final plans and supporting the completion of the project.

Parisi designed the Class Il bike lanes along with minor median modifications to allow the existing parking to remain, with few alterations. After a preliminary review of the plans, and considering community input, staff eliminated weekend parking along the Safeway shopping center frontage to include a separate designated space for cyclists to accommodate the larger number of cyclists anticipated to use the new bike lanes on the weekends.

Parking surveys found community members that work at and visit the local schools, businesses and the Redwoods Retirement Community rely on the availability of the curbside parking more during the work week than on weekends. The proposed parking allowances and restrictions were presented to the BPAC. Committee members supported the idea of allowing parking during weekdays and restricting parking during weekends in order to improve the previous conditions and passed on their recommendations to the City Council.

The final project plans and specifications were approved by the City Council on September 17, 2018 and City Council awarded the construction contract to Ghilotti Bros., Inc. on November 5, 2018. Work was completed on May 5, 2019. The project was completed for $451,715.56, which was approximately $46,000 less than budget. The project was deemed complete at the July 15, 2019 City Council meeting.

Summary

Though an open, public process, Camino Alto was identified by the community and City Council as a high priority for thoughtful redesign and repair, and significant resources were directed to improve this important part of our City's infrastructure. This project was consistent with the General Plan’s Mobility Section, which states the goal of establishing and maintaining a well-connected pedestrian and bicycle system that is accessible, easy to navigate, and comfortable for all types of users. The current Camino Alto parking restrictions represent a balanced approach to meet the needs of all users/modes, including walking, bicycling, transit, and autos.

April 2018 Staff Report
July 2019 Staff Report