San Rafael officials concerned about impact of I-580 connector


San Rafael officials express reservations about emerging plans to build a connector between Freeway 101 and Interstate 580.

City council members, who received an update on the effort on Tuesday, said they were concerned the Marin Transportation Authority project could affect city traffic.

As it stands, drivers on Highway 101 northbound should take local streets of San Rafael or Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Larkspur to get to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge via Interstate 580. The plan connection, still in the early stages of development, would link the two highways for direct access to the bridge. Nine potential project routes are on the table, several of which could impact the city.

Anne Richman, executive director of TAM, said the project did not propose to close the busy corridor on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, although some proposed route alternatives may impact the slip road or require reconstruction. .

Bill Guerin, city director of public works, stressed that future changes to the corridor and different traffic alignments could have a significant effect on the city. Guerin and city consultant Barry Miller reviewed the city’s goals, including net benefits for neighborhoods, mobility, economic investments, improved passenger safety, aesthetics, design for the future and efficiency.

Mayor Kate Colin and Deputy Mayor Maribeth Bushey both said the goals appeared vague and questionable.

Bushey said if the plan is to get commuters from East Bay to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge as quickly as possible, “then it looks like there is a wider range of options that could be considered here.” .

Colin, who served as TAM’s commissioner, said she was wary of the idea of ​​a motorway project as a “link for recreation” and that the project’s wider environmental impact is essential.

“As I step back, what we’re up against is road networks are just that,” Colin said. “They are a system in themselves and our local traffic is another system. And it just so happens that San Rafael, because we are the center of the world… is where these systems come up against each other. “

City councilor Maika Llorens Gulati said she needed more data to understand why San Rafael is seen as the crux of the project.

“Show me the data, show me the numbers,” said Llorens Gulati. “I would like to understand that. If this is to happen to San Rafael… we will make the most of it. I think there are a lot of different alternatives you could come up with.

Board member Rachel Kertz suggested prioritizing the goals. City Manager Jim Schutz said this could be a challenge and suggested following the process the city followed when designing the San Rafael Transit Center by selecting the concerns most important to the community and deciding on the details. later.

The city is collecting public comments on the draft and commenters can email the city clerk’s office at [email protected]


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