News

Frequently Asked Questions #2

Posted Date: 7/13/2016

The Miller Ave Streetscape Project is deeply aligned with Mill Valley's unique charm, character, and small town values, reflecting the work of the many committee members and residents who participated in the planning and design process.


The Miller Avenue Streetscape Project is an 18-month construction project to repair infrastructure and improve multi-modal use of Miller Avenue, including addressing safety for pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages and abilities, providing better transit access, and improving motorist safety. Construction began the week of June 13, 2016 and will continue through Fall 2017.

We recently received a number of questions and comments about the project and wanted to provide additional information.  Here are the most recent FAQs:


Why were the trees on Miller Avenue cut down?


The streetscape plan, which was created by community members over a period of 10 years, requires moving some of the medians and crosswalks, and the removal of some trees was impossible to avoid. As part of the reconstruction and realignment of the roadway, 50 trees were removed from the central section of Miller Avenue, what we call “Main Street” - between Willow Street to Reed and Valley Circle. 38 trees were preserved (including many Redwood trees), and 142 new trees will be planted in this section.

While it is difficult to see trees removed, these street trees had many issues, including poor growing conditions and inadequate space. Most were nearing the end of their expected lifespan. Other trees were not appropriate for the urban street environment, including a number of Liquidambars that have very aggressive roots and routinely uplift, crack, and buckle sidewalks, requiring ongoing expensive repairs.

The removal of the trees will allow for 142 new trees to be planted in a more appropriate size and scale for the street. These trees were chosen to enhance the view of Mount Tamalpais as well as to complement this primarily commercial and pedestrian zone of Miller Avenue. See below for more details about the new trees.


Will the City plant new trees?


Yes - We have worked with landscape architects to carefully create a replanting plan that will add 142 new trees in the Main Street section of Miller Avenue. When the project is done the total number of trees in this section will increase from 88 to 180.

The species have been chosen with careful consideration for size, aesthetic appeal, coordination with preserved trees and other city trees, and ability to withstand their tough environs. Our Parks Supervisors have worked with the landscape architect from the start of the planning process, ten years ago, through final plan approval.

The new trees include Locust trees, Eastern Redbuds, and Red Maples, among others. The Locust trees are robust and fast growing. Eastern Redbuds put on a prolific display in the spring; Red Maples, which give spectacular fall color and are doing well as a new street tree that we have begun planting to replace fallen Liquidambars in other parts of the City. Crepe Myrtle will give color through the summer with the Locusts, and various native trees like California Sycamore, Big Leaf Maple, Coast Live Oak and California Buckeye are also included in the new planting plan.

Of course, these will take some years to reach maturity, and we will do our part to maintain them. We will enjoy being able to watch these trees grow and become part of urban forest and City’s heritage for years and generations to come.


Is Miller Avenue being reduced to one lane?


No - Miller Avenue will continue to function in many ways as it did before construction, with two dedicated lanes in each direction, with the exception of the “Passage” section near the Mill Valley Lumber Yard. This section was re-striped to one lane in 2014 as part of the approved Streetscape Plan.

The Parkway Room has been striped temporarily as one lane an each direction to allow for temporary parking and a Class II bike lane. When the project is complete, there will be two lanes in both directions from Almonte Boulevard (the far end of the Tam High Football Field) to just before Millwood Street (a little before the Mill Valley Lumber Yard).


Why is the City approving work on other major roads during the Miller Avenue Streetscape Project?


The City recognizes that the construction on Miller Avenue impacts local traffic. With this in mind, the Department of Public Works will limit work that affects the other major corridors in Mill Valley. The City must, however, attend to issues and problems as they come up. Also, many projects were held off earlier this year to wait until schools are on summer recess, when the roadways are less busy.

Motorists who travel throughout Marin County and the Bay Area will notice that it is standard practice for municipalities to conduct road work in the summer, to minimize overall impacts. We understand that this still presents an inconvenience, and we thank you for your understanding and patience.

We advise that you plan ahead, allow extra time for travel, and check www.mvtraffic.org before every trip. Reducing and consolidating car trips, using alternate transportation (walking or biking), and traveling during non-peak travel times will also minimize disruption to your travel through town. Click here for more about how you can help minimize traffic.


Will the parking on Miller Avenue be metered?

No -This project will not include parking meters for Miller Avenue. The City has approved new parking restrictions as part of the approved Streetscape Plan, aimed at creating more consistent regulations and allowing greater turnover for visitors and local business customers from Locust Avenue to Camino Alto. Unregulated parking will remain available for residents, commuters and to meet other longer-term parking needs at both ends of the corridor.

Parking will be managed and enforced through parking enforcement officers, not meters. Please keep an eye on the posted time restrictions and curb colors to help make the road serve the needs of all users.


Will there be any additional safety precautions added to the crosswalk at Evergreen and Miller? (In front of Whole Foods?)

The Evergreen Avenue and Miller Avenue intersection will be reconfigured based on the approved Streetscape Plan. The new intersection will feature reduced turning movements and additional pedestrian crossings to address concerns about vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian safety. The Evergreen Avenue and Miller Avenue crosswalks will feature pedestrian-activated flashing lights, the same as are installed on Miller Avenue at Almonte Boulevard (by the park and ride lot/bus stop). When a pedestrian on either side of either crosswalk pushes the button, lights will flash near the ‘shark’s teeth’ marking in both directions alerting motorists that pedestrians are present.


Why is the Miller Avenue Streetscape project being done?


Miller Avenue, one of Mill Valley’s major roadways, has been in need of repair for many years. The list of issues is plentiful and includes damaged sidewalks, poor accessibility, cracked pavement, leaking sanitary sewers, inadequate drainage facilities to prevent against flooding, substandard bike lanes and crosswalks.

The Miller Avenue Streetscape project was identified as a high priority by the community and City Council, and represents a significant investment in the City’s infrastructure. It was also identified as the number one project for improvement in Southern Marin through the Measure A County-Wide Sales Tax Expenditure Plan. This project will improve the roadway, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, repair the sewers and sidewalks, and install new storm drains, landscaping and rain gardens to protect the water quality of local creeks.

The project is deeply aligned with Mill Valley's unique charm, character, and small town values, reflecting the work of the many committee members and residents who participated in the planning and design process. Click here to learn about the 10-year community planning process.

City and Construction Management staff are making every effort to mitigate impacts during construction and are working with the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce to notify local businesses and residents of the planned work. City and Construction Management staff will provide regular updates to the community regarding the project.


Stay Informed
Construction updates will be provided on a weekly basis. Stay informed by signing up for updates here. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and our project website www.cityofmillvalley.org/millerave.  

Questions?
Construction Specific Questions – Please contact 4LEAF Construction Management – Phone: (415)328-6972 email: mthrailkill@4leafinc.com

General Questions – Please contact Becky Murray,Administrative Assistant, City of Mill Valley at
phone: 415-384-4835 and email: bmurray@cityofmillvalley.org

More info:

Download the Primer on the Miller Avenue Streetscape Project: Click here for a more in-depth look at the Miller Avenue Streetscape Project: timeline, budget, map, and a history of community involvement.

Miller Avenue Area Businesses: Do we have your contact info? If you are not sure, please contact Becky Murray, Administrative Assistant at bmurray@cityofmillvalley.org or call 415-384-4835. Please let us know your name, business name and address, email address and phone number. Also - Check out the MillerUP Business Support program.  

Miller Avenue Project Documents - Click here for Agendas, Staff Reports, Plans, Studies, etc.