choices is the only way to reduce congestion.
There is no
single mode or single project that can solve all of our congestion problems.
Each mode, from commuter rail to bicycles to local streets and road projects has
an important role to play in improving our lives. The Transportation Vision Plan
includes plans for commuter rail; local and express buses; services focused on
school children, the elderly and disabled, and cyclists and pedestrians; as well
as a plan for improving our highways and roads. While no single project will
serve everyone, having a wide range of choices will let people make travel
decisions based on the best mode for their trip, rather than continuing
dependence on the auto simply because there is no alternative. Furthermore, even
a 10% reduction in demand for automobile travel can significantly reduce
congestion on roads and highways.
2. All modes
will be linked together in a seamless comprehensive plan.
New rail stations
will become hubs for transportation improvements, and will provide places for
all transit modes to come together. Train stations will be well served by local
and regional buses, and at least one train/ferry connection will be completed.
Building each project as part of an overall system will get the most out of the
overall network. If all of the projects included in the plan are implemented,
transit rider-ship may increase by 5,000,000 annual riders, bicycle and
pedestrian trips could double, and over 370,000 hours currently spent in traffic
delays each year could be put to more productive use!
Regional and interregional trips will be served by a completion of the HOV
system on Highway 101, the implementation of a new commuter rail line, increased
express bus service and increased ferry service.
continues to be a backbone of travel in the urbanized parts of Marin County, and
a great deal of attention must be given to the burden that freeway
ongestion places, not just on the highway, but on many local trips. Key elements
2. a) 1) A
fast efficient commuter rail service could carry over 5,000 daily riders.
Area Rail Transit (SMART) system, proposed from Cloverdale to San Rafael with a
second phase connection to a ferry terminal, will serve trips inside the County,
as well as travel between Sonoma, Marin and San Francisco Counties. Service will
be provided every 30 minutes during peak periods, carrying an
estimated 5,100 riders per day. During the morning peak period alone, 1,900
trips could be removed from Highway 101 by SMART.
2. a) 2)Rail
stations will become intermodal hubs, with convenient service from local and
express buses, and with at least one major ferry link.
pedestrian access will be a part of every station plan, taking advantage of the
implementation of the North-South Bikeway which will link all of the
communities along the 101 corridor, and will make bicycle travel substantially
b) The completion of our High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) system will allow for
faster and more effective express bus service.
The Marin Sonoma
Narrows in Northern Marin and Southern Sonoma Counties is the “missing link” in
our regional diamond lane system. With the gap closure project
in San Rafael already under construction, this remains a critical bottleneck
which prevents bus transit from gaining any time advantage over the auto. The
Narrows project will provide capacity for all freeway users by putting higher
occupancy vehicles in the diamond lane. It is estimated that nearly 500 person
hours of delay may be saved every day by completing this project.
2. b) 1) Express buses within the County and entering the County from all
directions will take full advantage of our HOV investment.
A refined express
bus plan will be designed to complement, not compete, with the rail service,
providing direct links between higher density residential areas and higher
density employment sites without requiring a transfer. It is estimated at least
1,350 new riders will use express buses, even after SMART rail is implemented.
Increased ferry service is expected to help keep our interregional trips on
The Water Transit
Authority is currently studying additional locations for a North Bay ferry,
providing improved services to Marin County. A new terminal is expected to
provide the critical link between the proposed SMART rail system and ferry
services. The Water Transit Authority is exploring opportunities to ring the bay
with expanded ferry services with the North Bay serving as a major node.
2.d) The increasing demand for commute trips within the County will
be served by a major increase in local bus and shuttle transit, a major school
transportation initiative, and an emphasis on streets and roads.
trip begins or ends on a local street. The Transportation Vision Plan emphasizes
projects on local streets and roads, ensuring that our maintenance backlog is
managed effectively. Major increases in services to schools, both through the
Safe Routes to Schools program and new “school pool” services from our local
transit plan could combine to reduce auto travel to schools by at least 15%.
Local bus and shuttle transit services will be completely rethought to create a
competitive service that can capture choice riders while serving those with
mobility needs. Our bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure will be greatly
improved including completion of major infrastructure for north-south and
east-west bicycle travel.
2.d) 1) Improvements to the local bus and shuttle transit system are
critical to the Transportation Vision Plan, providing the “glue” that links all
Over 16,000 new riders are projected to be attracted to the reinvented
local bus and shuttle transit service each day. Two new bus transit junctions
are expected to be created along with improvements to the existing bus transit
hub in San Rafael. These hubs will provide convenient transfer points, allowing
passengers to seamlessly travel from their local residence to any point within
the County. Hubs will be served by a new County Express route serving the
residential and employment concentrations along Highway 101.
cost of all of the projects in this plan is at least $1.5 billion dollars.
Existing revenue can cover only $367 million, leaving a gap of over $1.1 billion
over the next 25 years to make our vision a reality. It is clear that we will
not be able to move forward on all projects at once.
prioritize our investments, Only by providing a range of choices will
Marin County residents finally be able to enjoy their county without the
uncertainty and frustration caused by back-ups.
continued widening of roadways is costly, may harm our environment and quality
of life and can no longer keep up with growing demand. Looking into the future,
one thing is clear — to manage congestion, we will have to provide a richness of
choices that will enable people to travel differently, ......
52% of all work trips made by Marin County residents are to jobs
here in the County. And, while more than a quarter of Marin County's work
trips are still destined for San Francisco, the Marin-San Francisco commute is
well served by transit. While only about 5% of all trips in Marin County are
made on transit, over 25% of Marin-San Francisco commute trips are transit
63% of all Marin jobs are filled by
Marin Residents. 37% of Marin County workers live outside the County. The
majority, approximately 14%, are Sonoma County residents.
Only 6% of Marin Resident's work
trips are currently headed to Sonoma County, rapid job growth there is
attracting an increasing share, and will also reduce the number of Sonoma County
workers commuting south.
Of all trips made in the morning
peak, over 70% of all trips that begin in Marin County have destinations within
the County. Local school trips the morning combined with local work trips.
Of the morning peak period traffic
entering Marin County from the north is 52% is destined for Marin County. 24%
destined for San Francisco or south, 20% East Bay.
76% of all 580 trips, from East
Bay, entering Marin County in the morning are destined for locations within the
County. Even during the evening commute, when San Francisco's Bay Bridge
approaches experience near gridlock conditions for several hours, only 2% of the
eastbound trips on Highway 580 originate in San Francisco. The vast majority
(78%) of eastbound evening Highway 580 trips begin in Marin County.
All day traffic volumes across the
Bridge have not appreciably changed in over a decade. The number of vehicles on
the Bridge during peak periods has increased. Sunday evening traffic exceeds
T O W A R D S A M U L T I M O D A L
F U T U R E The statistics lead to some surprising conclusions. Rather than
blaming our congestion problems on excessive growth or "outsiders" traveling
through Marin County, we can recognized that the sources of our congestion are
primarily locally created.
Congestion is projected to grow at
three times the rate of population growth over the coming 20 years.
School trips comprise 21% of our
morning commute traffic.
Chapter 2 Towards a
Continually building new roads and
expanding highways is no longer a desirable or feasible solution. Alternatively,
reducing our demand for automobile travel by as little as 10% may significantly
Auto trip reductions of 15% were
recorded at schools receiving Safe Routes training in 1999-2000.2
Increase the bicycle and walk mode
share for trips from today's estimated 7% to 20% by the year 2020. Most of those
trips would occur outside of the peak commute period. Substantially increased
bike-to-transit and walk-to-transit trips, helping to increase the viability of
transit, bicycling and walking as legitimate transportation options. Mitigate
the environmental impacts caused by motor vehicles, including air quality,
energy consumption, noise, and use of land for roadways and parking lots.
Bus Transit Futures
(illustrated on the map in Figure 2-3:)
Local Express Bus – Frequent (15 minute peak) service
along the U.S. 101 Corridor, linking major residential and activity centers.
(This is a separate service from the Marin-Sonoma Express Bus, discussed later
in this chapter.)
Intercommunity Service – An expanded system of
intercommunity routes to provide an attractive local transit network for direct
travel between Marin County communities.
Tailored Local Community Service Routes – An array of
local services tailored to meet the different needs of Marin communities from
local fixed route shuttles, to community service routes tailored to seniors, to
contract taxis in lower density areas. Implementation of this plan would allow
for continuation and expansion of demonstration shuttles in Southern Marin
County, Western Marin and Novato, while adding new tailored services in other
School Pool Service – While Marin County Transit would
not provide "yellow school bus service," it would offer supplemental "School
Tripper" shuttles and buses that would serve a similar function by linking
residential areas to local schools. The "School Pool" program would
provide ridematching assistance to promote carpooling to schools. These programs
would supplement the Safe Routes to Schools efforts to reduce congestion around
schools, specifically targeting those areas where walking and biking is a less
Intermodal Connections – New service would link major
bus transfer points to ferry terminals and to proposed rail stations, ensuring a
seamless intermodal connection at all major transfer locations.
Paratransit – Especially designed to meet the needs of
seniors and persons with disabilities, this would expand on the current services
offered in response to the Americans With Disabilities Act. Expanded paratransit
service will also be needed to serve Marin’s growing senior population.
Increasing the number of bus transit junctions from one in San Rafael
to three at critical intermodal points. For intercommunity and local
services, three bus transit junctions would be developed for timed transfers
with enhanced passenger amenities and information, including electronic message
signs announcing when the next bus will be arriving. The current junction in San
Rafael would be improved, with new junctions added in Novato and Southern Marin.
Improved access and stop amenities. Improved freeway bus pads and pedestrian and
bicycle access would enable convenient connections between regional and
intercommunity bus transit services. Improvements are expected at virtually all
pad bus stops in the U.S. 101 Corridor.
New and expanded bus
fleet. A substantial increase in the number of buses needed would be
met by a diverse bus fleet that includes alternative fuels and sizes that match
the service need with the service fleet.
When fully implemented, the
Marin Bus Transit Futures Plan could more than double the existing local bus
transit ridership of 13,200 to 35,000 daily bus transit riders by 2020.
Transportation Demand Management (TDM)
plans (carpool matching, telecommuting centers, employer shuttles
to regional transit services, employer transit passes, Guaranteed Ride Home
programs, and subsidized vanpools). Employers with TDM
alternatives have been able to reduce drive-alone trips by as much as 15%. TDM
strategies can also be used to reduce school commute trips, a significant source
of traffic congestion.
SMART Commuter Rail
a planned ferry connection in southern Marin at either Larkspur or San Quentin,
or in the Northern Marin area at Port Sonoma.
With service every 30 minutes during the most congested times of day, it is
estimated that SMART will initially carry 5,100 riders. This may remove an
estimated 1,900 auto trips from Highway 101 during the morning commute from 6AM
Marin-Sonoma Express Bus
Even with rail implementation, there will be some inter-county markets that
are better served by express buses. Currently, Golden Gate transit serves
over 30,000 daily riders on its basic and express bus service between Marin and
Sonoma Counties. Given the major changes in travel patterns, including a much
higher proportion of commute trips staying within the North Bay, a Master Plan
was developed for an enhanced express bus service within Sonoma and Marin
Counties. The recommended system would restructure existing Express Bus service
and add new routes to more than double current service
levels. After completion of the HOV lane system, including the completion
of HOV lanes through the Marin-Sonoma Narrows, buses would take advantage
of faster travel times on Highway 101, and would be restructured to create
more than a dozen point-to-point Express Bus routes serving major employment
centers in Marin County. Figure 2-5
shows the proposed Express Bus system for the North Bay. In addition to the
Marin-Sonoma Express Bus Study, Golden Gate Transit is also studying new commute
bus routes to San Francisco that would serve Bel Marin
Keys, Hamilton and East Corte Madera. And as early as 2003, Golden Gate
Transit could expand service on two Sonoma-Marin commute bus routes as part of
the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Regional Express Bus Program. The
changes proposed in the Marin-Sonoma Express Bus Study could
increase express bus ridership by 1,350 riders,
even with SMART Rail in place, eliminating an estimated
600 cars from Highway 101 in the peak direction during the peak period.
Implementing the Express Bus plan would also leverage a large investment in HOV
lanes, and would provide additional transit options to those currently
commuting by car.
we cannot build our way out of congestion, we can make spot improvements
that will help the existing highway system move people more efficiently.
Marin's Congestion Management Agency regularly prepares a Congestion Management
Program that prioritizes highway projects. The most recent CMP was adopted in
2001. For the past decade, much of the attention and funding in the Plan has
been focused on the "gap closure" project – completing the HOV lane system
through San Rafael. This project is now being constructed, allowing the County
to develop new priorities.
The highest priority projects for highway improvements are intended to provide
"spot relief" for major bottlenecks in the highway system. While it is widely
recognized that we cannot build our way out of congestion, we can make strategic
investments that will help the highway system move people more efficiently.
Critical bottlenecks occur in the Marin-Sonoma Narrows area and at specific
interchanges throughout the County. In addition, accidents and incidents are
often concentrated in these "choke points" where the system slows down
dramatically due to spot congestion.
The Congestion Management Plan attempts to resolve these bottleneck and safety
problems. Caltrans is currently studying alternatives for improving the
Marin-Sonoma Narrows area by completing the HOV lane system throughout the
County. This project will have the special benefit of making transit service in
this area more competitive by improving travel times, while at the same time
encouraging carpool and vanpool services.
In addition, improvements are
envisioned at critical interchanges throughout the County, where safety and
congestion are a particular concern. Seven interchanges have been identified as
high priorities for future projects. Figure 2-6 shows the location of highway
improvements planned throughout the County. The exact nature of
these projects will be determined through further study by Caltrans in
partnership with the Congestion Management Agency and local stakeholders. The
high priority interchanges are:
U.S. 101/Atherton Avenue
U.S. 101/Lucas Valley Road
U.S. 101/Sir Francis Drake Boulevard (Greenbrae Interchange)
U.S. 101/Tamalpais Drive
U.S. 101/Tiburon Boulevard
U.S. 101/Sausalito (Alexander Avenue)
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is also studying the potential
widening of Highway 37. Possible improvements to the U.S. 101/Highway 37
interchange will be included as part of this study. The benefits of highway
improvements can be measured in reduced delay. These projects combine to
eliminate an estimated 1,000 vehicle hours of delay every day.3 This will result
in improved travel speeds and reduced commute time, as well as a more reliable
highway system. Interchange projects in particular can have a dramatic impact on
local streets leading to and from the highway, as congestion often spills over
onto local streets when an interchange is not operating properly.
The Transportation Master Planning process has provided a wealth of
information about a number of the components of the Transportation Vision Plan.
Addi-tional studies, currently underway, will provide new information over time.
The transportation Vision Plan will be adjusted to accommodate new information
as it develops.
Water Transit Authority
Study – New and Expanded Ferry Service for the North Bay
The Bay Area Water Transit Authority (WTA) was initiated through Governor
Gray Davis' Transportation Congestion Relief Program. The WTA recently released
its initial study report, which evaluated terminal, service and technology
enhancements to ferry services. In the North Bay, service expansion is
envisioned at all Marin County ferry terminals with new facilities at Port
Sonoma and a potential future San Quentin site being identified for future
study. Among the criteria being considered for new terminals is the availability
of multi-modal connections,
including potential rail and bus transit services. For example, SMART Rail could
eventually connect to potential ferry terminal locations at Port Sonoma
or San Quentin, or to the existing Larkspur terminal, providing an additional
transit option for those traveling from the
North Bay to San Francisco.
Golden Gate Transit Bus and Ferry Services
In response to financial needs over the next ten years, Golden Gate Transit
is studying the reduction of express bus, local bus and ferry transit services
in order to reduce costs. In accordance with the Transit District's Short Range
Transit Plan, underutilized and inefficient services are being targeted for
reduction or elimination. Plans for future transit service expansion will need
to be reevaluated based on the service changes made over the next several years.
Rather than expanding service, short-term objectives may need to focus on
maintaining the quality of existing service in order to facilitate service
expansions in the long term.
"If development is done
carefully under smart growth concepts, growth will not increase traffic
congestion but will instead improve the viability of transit and other
alternative transportation modes."
Sales tax funds could also be used to help facilitate smart growth
development within the rail corridor. Bill AB2224: two-thirds of Marin and
Sonoma County residents who live within the District can be asked to approve a
sales tax measure. A half-cent sales tax would generate $21 million in Marin
County in its first year.
2. Establish Performance Measurement Indicators.
The projects being considered span all modes of travel and vary widely in both
implementation and maintenance costs. Also, benefits of projects in a
multi-modal plan are hard to disaggregate because they are often synergistic
(e.g., local shuttles are more effective in conjunction with rail).
Therefore, traditional measures of things like
cost-effectiveness are not appropriate.