Trolley Study, Fairfax Parkade Upgrades Among 17 Marin Projects Awarded OBAG Funds

The Transportation Authority of Marin board spread One Bay Area federal grants as far as possible, awarding money to projects that include upgrading the county’s bike plan and San Anselmo intersection improvements.

Fairfax Parkade upgrades, San Anselmo intersection improvements and a Fairfax-to-San Rafael trolley feasibility study are among the county projects set to receive federal funds and other monies from the Transportation Authority of Marin

TAM approved a plan at its Nov. 29, 2012, meeting that divides roughly $11.4 million among 17 transportation projects in Marin. The bulk of the funds — roughly $10 million — are from the One Bay Area Grant program and will be awarded over the next four years. One Bay Area is a multi-agency campaign to link job growth to transportation infrastructure and new housing to accommodate that growth, requiring local jurisdictions to provide new housing to do so.

Instead of just fully funding a few projects ranked at the top of a long list, the TAM board agreed to spread the money a bit further. TAM received a total of 25 applications from nine Marin municipalities seeking the OBAG funds.

Scroll down to see the complete list of projects awarded money. 

“We spread the money around so each jurisdiction got some benefit,” said TAM Executive Director Dianne Steinhauser.

TAM used other funding sources (including its savings) and reduced its staff budget (they postponed the hiring of new staff) to make additional funds available, Steinhauser said. 

“We were very creative in finding other money and trying to give everybody their top priority project,” she said. “We had a lot of candidates and we didn’t have enough money for everybody.” 

Several local agencies agreed to receive less money to let TAM spread the funds as much as possible, including those involved Fairfax’s Parkade upgrades and efforts to improve the Bolinas Avenue and Sir Francis Drake Blvd. intersection in Ross and San Anselmo

“We got a lot of really great cooperation, particularly from Fairfax, San Anselmo and Ross,” she said. “They were very cooperative in saying ‘we can find some of our own money’ and trying to be as efficient as possible.” 

Steinhauser said they hope to see officials get started on the projects in the next six months, once the awarded money has made its way to the local jurisdictions.

Geographic equity was factored into award-funding equation that determined which projects would get funds. Other factors that helped projects earn money included transportation and land-use connections, analyzing the different choices and connectivity the projects could create, if it’s in a community of concern, and if local funds would match the monies.

The Public Works departments of Tiburon and Mill Valley, as well as TAM’s Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, reviewed the ranking process.

A total of $795 million federal surface transportation funds were made available to the Bay Area. Of that total, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission set aside $475 million for regional programs and the remaining $320 million went to OBAG programs. Marin will receive $10,028,000 for a four-year period.

TAM added to the OBAG funds, bringing the total amount awarded to projects to around $11.4 million, according to Steinhauser. See descriptions of all the projects, as well as a funding breakdown, attached to this article. 

TAM had already committed using OBAG funds for the top five projects on list:

  • Countywide planning and programming activities
  • The central Marin ferry connector
  • Updating the countywide bicycle plan
  • Looking at the community-based transportation plan for Novato, San Rafael and Marin city
  • Novato transit hub upgrades 

One project that was awarded nearly all of its estimated $226,000 cost is the countywide implementation of ramp metering on Highway 101. Do you support adding metering lights to the highway in Marin? Tell us in the comments. 

The Fairfax parkade upgrades, a project estimated to cost $434,000, will receive $300,000 from TAM. The plan is to improve bicycle, pedestrian, transit and vehicular circulation and safety around the downtown Fairfax area, which serves as a transit hub and parking area.

The upgrades to the San Anselmo and Ross intersection, estimated to cost $380,000, will receive $274,000 toward the repaving of the roadway, upgrading the island, redoing the traffic signals, reconstructing crosswalks, as well as adding curbs, gutters and sidewalks. The project area is from Winship Avenue to the 100 block of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. and from Sir Francis Drake Blvd to Shady Lane on Bolinas Avenue.

The estimated $150,000 feasibility study looking at the Fairfax to San Rafael transit corridor will receive $100,000 in TAM funds. The project, backed the Marin towns, is an initial evaluation and feasibility review of operating a trolley line from Fairfax to San Rafael, connecting to the future SMART station in downtown San Rafael with an option to connect to the White Hill Middle School and to the Montecito shopping area. A advisory team for the study will be created from members in the Town of Fairfax, Town of San Anselmo, City of San Rafael, County of Marin, Marin Transit, Marin Trolley and SMART. None of the money for the study came from OBAG; it was funded via two different TAM funds. 


Jurisdiction Project Total Estimated Project Cost Amount Awarded by TAM Only OBAG funds awarded? Marin County Central Marin Ferry Connection Project $15 million $1.5 million Yes TAM Community-Based Transportation Plans for the Canal Neighborhood, Marin City, and Novato $250,000 $175,000 No TAM Update of Bicycle/Pedestrian Plans in Marin $250,000 $200,000 No Novato Novato Transit Hub No data available $100,000 No Marin County Donahue Street Road Rehabilitation Project $1.24 million $1.08 million Yes Novato  DeLong Avenue and Ignacio Boulevard Highway Interchange Resurfacing $867,000 $779,000 Yes San Rafael  Del Presidio Blvd. & Pt. San Pedro Road Resurfacing $594,000 $457,000 Yes San Rafael Regional Transportation System Enhancements in Downtown San Rafael $2.7 million $2.4 million No Marin County Marinwood Village Redevelopment $1.2 million $116,000 No Marin County North Civic Center Drive Improvements $2.9 million $800,000 No Fairfax Circulation and Safety Improvements (Parkade) $434,000 $300,000 Yes TAM Implementation of Ramp Metering - Local Agency Engineering Support  $226,000 $200,000 Yes TAM Almonte Shoreline - Project Study Report along Marin 1 from Coyote Creek Bridge to Flamingo Road $200,000 $175,000 No San Anselmo and TAM Feasibility Study for Fairfax-San Rafael Transit Corridor (Trolley) $150,000 $100,000 No TAM Route 101 Interchange Improvements at East Blithedale Avenue/Tiburon Boulevard (Planning) $226,000 $175,000 Yes San Anselmo and Ross Bolinas Avenue & Sir Francis Drake Intersection Improvements $380,000 $274,000 Yes Sausalito South Gateway Complete Streets Improvements $1.25 million $125,000



What do you think of the projects awarded funds? Tell us in the comments!


Check out what else is on San Anselmo - Fairfax Patch:

  • Fairfax Takes First Step Toward Leaf Blower Restrictions
  • PHOTOS: Grateful Dead Legends Phil Lesh and Bob Weir Delight Marin Crowd
  • 16-Year-Old Restores Fairfax Rain Garden
  • Fairfax Winemakers Earn Top Honors

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Bob Hunter January 22, 2013 at 11:24 PM
...and similar to Kevin's suggestion, they could be natural gas hybrids.
Jeffrey Gimzek January 23, 2013 at 05:56 AM
No one in Marin who owns a car will ride a bus. Come on. This trolley line would run through towns full of million-dollar plus homes and 2012 Prii. A trolley is EXACTLY the kind of folksy cuteness that will get locals to ride with their kids. Run it at night and you could almost eliminate DUI in Central Marin. Plus anyone with property bordering this line will see their values skyrocket. Everybody hates this stuff while it's being built, and as soon as it's done they are pissed it's 2 minutes late this morning, jeez.
Elvis January 23, 2013 at 11:00 PM
bring back the rail - a trolley is a totally awesome idea. Golden gate transit is focused in the SF commute, not inter marin lines and cannot be trusted to even consider more small buses for the fairfax - san rafeal corridor.
Kevin Moore January 24, 2013 at 08:18 PM
I do shed a tear when I see old film of the train line that once ran in Marin. But it is gone and paved over. Lack of riders is why it died. Start a petition for everyone along the trolley line. See how many want their street replaced with trolley tracks. End to DUIs? No, they will just be drunk driving from the parking lot to their house. How about if they just take a taxi back from the bar? Spread the wealth. Sad that we can't get people to ride buses. We will ride the coach if it has steel wheels and a track. Won't ride the coach if it has rubber wheels. Maybe we need to re-think what a bus is like. Smaller, more frequent, more luxurious. Are we going to build a trolley system at every SMART station?
John Ferguson January 28, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Uh, I own a car and I ride the bus all the time. I live in Fairfax. If the buses were more frequent and if they were more efficient than a car for a given trip, I'd certainly use it. My kids love the bus - they can look down on everything..


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