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Marin Approves $9.4 Million Bike Path for Ferry Building

Regular Larkspur ferry commuters know how many cyclists ride their bikes to the ferry terminal each morning. What they may not know is just how difficult it can be to access the terminal on a bicycle. There are bike paths in the area, including the convenient Cal Park tunnel, but none of them connect directly to the biggest transportation hub in the city of Larkspur.

Until now. The Marin IJ reports that Marin County just awarded a $9.4 million contract to Ghilotti Bros. Inc. of San Rafael to construct a bike path that will run from the Cal Park tunnel all the way to the ferry building. It will also involve a bike and pedestrian bridge over Sir Francis Drake Blvd. so nobody has to contend with the sometimes-chaotic car traffic in that area. Construction is scheduled to begin as early as next month, and the path is projected to open sometime in 2015.

This is great news for Marin County. Because Marin doesn't have BART, the ferry is one of the most convenient public transportation options to and from San Francisco. Now that the ferry is going to start charging for parking, I wouldn't be surprised to see even more people riding their bikes to the ferry to avoid paying the parking fees. This will only fuel the demand for a dedicated bike path.

The Larkspur area is about on par with San Anselmo in terms of bike accidents between 2007 and 2011 (the two towns had 28 and 30 accidents, respectively). Only San Rafael has been the cite of significantly more bicycle accidents in that time span, and this may be due at least in part to the presence of the San Rafael Transit Center, which may also be lacking in accessibility.

Since getting an infusion of $25 million in federal funding for bike and pedestrian improvements a few years ago, Marin has absolutely become more hospitable for cyclists. And as the birthplace of mountain biking, Marin has always been somewhat more bicycle-friendly than other parts of the Bay Area. But this project, funded by the county, will provide a necessary addition to the cycling landscape of Marin. Perhaps this will influence more people to take their bikes to work and simultaneously cut down on bicycle accidents in Marin.

Are you a cyclist who uses the ferry to commute to San Francisco each day? How do you think this project will affect your daily commute? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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