Mill Valley City Council and Staff Reaffirm Commitment to Steps, Lanes, and Path Program

The conversation will continue at a community meeting on January 25, 2017 -7:00 pm at the Mill Valley Community Center.

At Tuesday’s City Council Meeting the Council accepted a broad range of recommendations from the City Manager to improve the Steps, Lanes, and Paths program and directed him to return at a future meeting with details and implementation plans. Opening the discussion, Mayor Jessica Sloan explained that the purpose of convening was to open a productive dialog and establish a clear path forward for protection and improvement of the City’s network of Steps, Lanes, and Paths. The discussion was both candid and productive. Click here to watch a video of the City Council meeting.

Several champions of SLPs from the community spoke passionately. Dan Murray of the Save Our Trails Committee gave a presentation outlining community concerns over encroachments onto the SLP network right of way and the need for more focus on the SLP network. During the presentation, Mr. Murray remarked that he was happy the Council and staff have been receptive to community concerns and said his group looks forward to working with the Council to act on the improvement of the SLP program.

City Manager Jim McCann started a staff presentation by outlining the importance of the Steps, Lanes, and Paths as a defining part of the character of Mill Valley that provide both recreation and necessary evacuation routes for public safety. McCann also recognized that despite momentum in the early 2000s that created the SLP map and organized staff and community member participation in the maintenance of the SLPs, the loss of key staff members with knowledge of the network slowed the progress of maintenance on the network. Additionally, Council and staff focused on other priorities in recent years including the General Plan, Safe Routes to School projects, pavement improvements, the Miller Avenue Streetscape Project, sewer improvements, flood control, and other improvements to our tennis courts and community center.

The City Manager stated that we need to place attention on SLPs to regain energy and address concerns. In regards to the concern over private encroachments onto SLP alignments, McCann reaffirmed that the City does not lose rights to an SLP if a private homeowner illegally encroaches onto an SLP.

The Council supported City Manager Jim McCann’s recommended actions to strengthen the SLP program including:

  1. Adopting a resolution reaffirming the City’s commitment to SLPs and the adoption of an SLP map.
  2. Creating a database with ownership information, trail alignment, conditions, etc.
  3. Creating new enforcement protocol.
  4. Implementing a page on the City website for community recommendations for SLP maintenance.
  5. Looking for increased SLP funding.
  6. Reconvening the internal SLP team.
  7. Preparing an annual SLP report for Council review.
  8. Working with the community on SLP volunteer opportunities.
  9. Proceeding with diligence on approved Capital Improvement Projects to maintain and improve existing SLP network.

On the key issue of protecting SLPs against encroachments, Mr. Murray of the Save Our Trails Committee remarked to the Council, “I think you’re with us—that’s the best part.” The City Council agreed that the conversation would continue at a community meeting on January 25, 2017 (7:00 pm at the Mill Valley Community Center) that will be a joint Save Our Trails Committee and Special City Council Meeting.