County of Marin - Press Releases - Bicyclist Safety Improvements

For Immediate Release
July 11, 2014

Shoulder Improvements Coming for Drake Boulevard

Upgrades to be made this summer on grade near White Hill in Fairfax

San Rafael, CA – With bicyclist safety in mind, road shoulders at least five feet wide will be added to a 3,300-foot stretch of westbound Sir Francis Drake Boulevard near Fairfax this summer as part of a federal program to encourage nonmotorized transportation.

The stretch of Drake Boulevard is between Baywood Canyon Road, about 1 ½ miles northwest of downtown Fairfax, to the Hal Brown Bridge on White Hill. The Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW) is overseeing the project, which will include construction work by Team Ghilotti of Petaluma. The company was awarded the contract in January after being the low bidder at $237,000.

"This project is critical to improving safety for bicyclists traveling over White Hill,” said Katie Rice, the Marin County Supervisor representing District 2, in which the project is located. “The entire community, bicyclists and motorists alike, will be pleased the work is finally underway, and look forward to its completion."

The funding will come from a grant from the national Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP), which has been the source of Marin projects at the Cal Park Hill Tunnel, Enfrente-Commuter Connection in Novato, Los Ranchitos/Las Gallinas Bike Lanes in San Rafael, and several stairway and sidewalk projects in Mill Valley, Larkspur and Tiburon. The projects serve people of all ages and abilities, and provided safe, convenient places to walk or ride.

“This section of the roadway is the Cross-Marin Trail’s gateway to West Marin,” said District 4 Supervisor Steve Kinsey, whose jurisdiction starts at White Hill. “The heavily used shoulder has remained a safety challenge for decades, so its completion will be the basis of both relief and celebration.”  

The start of the project was delayed to avoid disturbing endangered northern spotted owls in the area during a sensitive time, according to County DPW. Construction is expected to begin in mid-August and should last about two months.

Bikers on that section of the uphill stretch have to negotiate bumpy surfaces and shoulder widths as narrow as 18 inches. The project will provide a minimum five-foot wide shoulder for the safety of bicyclists adjacent to vehicle lanes. The width of the downhill (eastbound) section is deemed sufficient partly because bikers travel at roughly the same speed as vehicles on that stretch and tend to use the vehicle lane.

The project includes asphalt concrete road widening, installation of buttress walls and resurfacing of the existing road shoulder. The existing shoulder surfacing will be replaced for a smooth ride, and the painted fog line will be replaced.

In a recent report, the NTPP concluded that continued investment in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in Marin, coupled with outreach programming, has positively affected transportation choices and opportunities. Additional information on the local program can be obtained at


Ernest Klock
Assistant Director
Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive.
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6552
Email: Ernest Klock
Public Works website