Traffic clogs Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in both the eastbound and westbound lanes at Larkspur Landing in 2009. (IJ archive/Jeff Vendsel)
Fuming in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard between the freeway and Ross is a daily bummer for many, and although proposals for elaborate freeway interchange improvements have been shifted to the back seat, an emerging plan for the corridor may provide congestion relief.
The 2.5-mile stretch of the boulevard is in line for a $13.2 million makeover over the next three years, and a number of design concepts, proposals and priorities are in the mix.
No widening of the boulevard is planned, but the entire stretch is in line for a facelift as well as interchange overhauls including paving, sidewalk repair, new lighting, stoplight timing adjustments, pedestrian and bike lane improvements and related work in the existing right of way. The project will be financed by the 2004 Measure A sales tax.
The county Department of Public Works will hold a forum Nov. 18 at College of Marin to outline various improvement alternatives as a follow up to a session last spring. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in Fusselman Hall. Free parking is available in Lot 9 off Kent Avenue.
Supervisor Katie Rice said it is important that residents speak out on what should be done.
“This is a huge opportunity to improve the way that corridor operates,” she said.
“It’s not just a facelift,” she added. “It’s all about improvements to the intersections and signal light timing, crosswalk safety.”
“Even though the road cannot be widened, there is room in the footprint to widen a lane or add a turn lane” in some locations, she said. “This should improve things for motorists, pedestrians and, to a degree, bicyclists.”
Larkspur Councilman Larry Chu noted that the project will not increase road capacity, but it will make improvements including easing traffic flow to Bon Air Center. In addition, other features include making sure “all signalized intersections … have the capability to not only sense demand, but also adjust to the demand conditions at different times of the day,” he said.
Bob Goralka, a county principal civil engineer, said the Nov. 18 session will provide an overview of the project, a summary of comments and concerns provided at the earlier session and a “range of design concepts and the tradeoffs of each.”
Officials will seek guidance on design alternatives for the boulevard’s four segments. They will be presented at a third forum early next year.
The design concepts incorporate various versions of improved pedestrian crossings, modifying left and right turn lanes and movements, adding lanes, revising signal phasing and coordination, adding bicycle lanes and pathways, and improving transit access and bus stops, Goralka said.