Sustainable Mill Valley

Traffic Congestion and Safety Survey Responses

The Issue
Local and regional transportation account for over half of Marin’s greenhouse gas contribution and much concern has been expressed over traffic congestion and safety both locally and regionally. What solutions are you considering for our local traffic problems, including pedestrian and bicycle pathways, Safe Routes to Schools, shuttles, etc.? What would you do to make sure that Mill Valley has a presence in regional transit planning?
(See for background information)

Maureen Parton

I am a transit advocate and have raised my children to use transit and their feet as their primary means of transportation. My 17 year old daughter takes transit to high school in San Francisco and has not yet learned to drive. My 14 year old son walks home from Tamalpais High School and back up the Dipsea Stairs to our home every day ~ a 3 mile walk.

I initiated and negotiated a private transit arrangement with the U.C.S.F. Marin Commute Club buses to bring Marin high school students to the Urban School of S.F. This program has served over 100 families with students commuting to S.F. The program was so successful that the Urban School of S.F. now runs the program in-house as the UCSF club bus system, due to fuel and labor costs, became uneconomic for our families. Ultimately, I created a private transit service that has a life of its own.

My work at the County of Marin has given me the chance to initiate programs that have reduced neighborhood traffic in unincorporated Mill Valley including street design, traffic calming devices, safe bike lanes and paths, pedestrian and school walking paths, and better transit, including the Muir Woods Shuttle, a successful 3 year pilot program that took well over 25,000 passenger trips off our roads this year. I have been an active member of the Safe Routes to School Committee helping to increase the numbers of school children walking, riding bikes or carpooling to schools.

On the Mill Valley Planning Commission, I have pressed for better pedestrian safety and bicycle infrastructure on both residential applications and larger developments. I have consistently advocated for the inclusion of international best practices for paths and bike lanes, including colored paving, raised lanes at intersections, and protected cycle tracks along Miller Avenue.

My strong commitment is to integrate our city’s land use decisions, most notably with the plan for Miller Avenue, with a bold and forward-thinking plan for local transit alternatives. This is the most significant and effective way we can address greenhouse gas emissions on a local level. Our goal should be to get people out of their cars and onto shuttles on the flats and jitneys on the hills, and on feet and bikes. I will work to bring a pilot shuttle to the triangle and a jitney to the hills. I will advocate for better transit for our city and for the entire county.

I will help Mill Valley restore and improve the priority paths in our historic legacy of steps, lanes and paths. Mill Valley started out as village nestled next to the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais. People used to get around and downtown on this network of paths to the train that brought them where they needed to go. I will work to bring forward protected bike lanes and cycle tracks (wide bike lanes inboard of parked cars near the sidewalk), bike storage and lockers, wide sidewalks with resting places and water fountains. I will invest in infrastructure built for people not vehicles. We can make transit choices of all types more inviting while serving practical needs and addressing urgent environmental imperatives.

To assure that Mill Valley has a presence in regional transit planning, I would assure that the Mill Valley’s representive to the Transportation Agency of Marin and Marin Transit attends meetings and provides vigorous advocacy for Mill Valley’s transit needs. Transit throughout the County and the region is woefully under funded. We must work at the local, state and national level with our elected representatives to press for more funding for transit. This is an imperative if we hope to beat the climate clock.

Ken Wachtel

One of the most important challenges facing the new City Council is traffic and the inadequacy of parking in Mill Valley. Traffic congestion is not only an environmental tragedy but it seriously degrades our quality of life. Rather than reducing the parking requirement, the City should strive for adequate parking in all projects. The combination of traffic congestion and inadequate parking will doom any new commercial endeavor and further degrade our environment. Our failure to take steps to reduce traffic and parking problems is the surest route to a dismal future for Mill Valley.

The solution must start with the individual. Each of us is obligated to do what we can to reduce traffic. This includes carpooling, bike riding, walking and using public transit whenever practical.

As a City Council member, I would lead by education, demonstration and example. I would work to put Mill Valley at the forefront of Environmental Repair. I would promote the following opportunities:
  1. Mill Valley's continued participation in ICLEI's Cities for Climate Protection program. Mill Valley, with the County, has already completed the first step of this program by establishing our GHG baseline inventory. The next steps are to affirm a GHG reduction target, develop a GHG reduction plan, implement the plan, and monitor and report results. I will join my colleagues on the City Council to follow through with this program in a timely and effective manner;
  2. Work with the City to transition its motor vehicle inventory, where possible, to hybrid and less polluting vehicles. We should install solar panels and other green environmental tools where feasible;
  3. Restoration and then full maintenance of Mill Valley's extensive network of Steps, Lanes and Paths to foster a more walkable City and to promote ease of walking from the canyons to downtown (This is also an important life saving fire safety evacuation issue);
  4. More bike lanes and walking paths throughout the City. I want bike paths in Mill Valley that are more than just white paint;
  5. Partner with the School District and the County to reinstate school shuttles to address the substantial traffic problems in the mornings and afternoons when parents are dropping off and picking up their children. These shuttles can become an important means of transportation in and around Mill Valley for non-students at other times; and
  6. Support, organize, publicize and fund the Safe Routes to School program so students can walk and bike to school.

Stephanie Moulton-Peters

One of my top priorities as a candidate is to “Foster a greener town that is less congested and friendlier to pedestrians and bicycles." I am a founding member of the Mill Valley Safe Routes to School Task Force, which works to promote students walking, biking, and carpooling to Mill Valley’s eleven public and private schools. This effort is sponsored by the Transportation Agency of Marin, and fully integrated into regional transit planning efforts. We know that school traffic accounts for 20% of the morning commute traffic, and therefore, gains we make through Safe Routes will be a great benefit for the students and for the whole town!

As member for seven years, and chair for the past two years, I can attest that we are making great strides in working with the schools to reduce traffic! On October 3 we celebrated International Walk to School Day, and on that day 2/3 of our students walked, biked or carpooled to school! Imagine if that happened every day! Safe Routes is working with the City, the County, the neighborhoods and the School District to develop a network of safe routes on side walks, steps and paths, and bike lanes so that it can happen everyday. Within 5 years, I predict that people of all ages will leave their cars at home for many of their daily trips in Mill Valley!

Additionally, we are looking at the following opportunities to reduce traffic:
  • Explore a “Bicycle Boulevard" concept with neighbors in the Sycamore to allow students to ride and walk to the Middle School and Tam High by limiting auto traffic on the Boulevard during school commute hours.
  • Fund the Steps, Lanes and Paths initiative to restore and promote our town’s original pedestrian access routes.
  • Pilot-test ways to reduce “cut-through" traffic in our neighborhoods, including neighborhood traffic calming strategies.
  • Pilot-test an intra-Mill Valley shuttle and incent the use of existing public transit to get people out of their cars.

George Gordon

I try and walk or ride my bike as much as possible. Rather than add to the problem, I become part of the solution.

There are simple and complex solutions to our traffic problem. To get in or out of Mill Valley, you enter or exit on a one-lane road (yes, that’s correct). Three traffic problems: Blithedale at Camino Alto to the Freeway, Whole Foods intersection on Miller and cut through traffic in the neighborhoods. Solutions: Make Blithedale Ave two lanes from Camino Alto to the freeway. The city owns the land, has done the engineering and all that needs to be done is to build it. At Whole Foods, change the entry from Miller Avenue to Greenwood Ave and the exit from Greenwood Ave to Miller. Stops all the backup on Miller Ave and will make crossing Miller in the crosswalk much safer because no left turns will be made on Miller to enter Whole Foods. Cut through traffic: make La Goma one way from Locke Lane to Sycamore Ave. No left turn signs between 7AM and 9 AM - 4 PM to 6 PM on Amacita and Nelson at Sycamore. At Reed, Nelson, Amacita and Hilarita at Blithedale.

Start a free circular bus that loops around Mill Valley from downtown to Camino Alto. Ask everyone who would ride the bus to submit their idea of the route the bus should take and adjust the routes to their preferences. Make it easier to not take your car downtown. Get a bike, take a walk.

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Last updated: 10/12/07