County: Human-Powered Transportation is Working in Marin

Increased cycling, walking continue to lower vehicle miles traveled

Cyclist Nancy Peake pauses on the McGlashan Pathway in Tam Valley.
Cyclist Nancy Peake pauses on the McGlashan Pathway in Tam Valley.

The following is a news release from the County of Marin: 

Continued investment in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in Marin, coupled with outreach programming, has positively affected transportation choices and opportunities. That was the conclusion of the U.S. Department of Transportation in its final report on the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP).


Nonmotorized trips are viewed as critical components of the nation’s surface transportation system and associated impacts on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Total vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) in Marin has been reduced by an estimated 7.9 million miles over the course of a year, or nearly 21,634 miles each day – a statistic seen as critical progress by the Marin County Department of Public Works. Reducing VMT is a key factor, along with more efficient automobiles and better fuels, in meeting the nation’s goals of achieving greater energy independence and reducing the impacts of global climate change. 


The federal report revealed that in Marin, since 2007:


  • Bicycling and walking trips have increased 66 percent and 20 percent, respectively, which resulted in 7.7 million fewer vehicle trips annually
  • Trips shifted to bicycling and walking have saved 1.6 million gallons of fuel and reduced carbon monoxide emissions by 515 tons
  • 38.1 million additional nonmotorized trips with a commensurate reduction in driving trips for those over 16, which equates to 37 annual trips per capita countywide
  • WalkBikeMarin, Marin’s implementation of the pilot program, directed funding to 36 infrastructure projects
  • WalkBikeMarin added 24 miles of new facilities for walking and bicycling since 2007, closing gaps and connecting neighborhoods and communities to make walking and bicycling easier for all.


Marin projects funded through the NTPP included 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, among many others. The projects served people of all ages and abilities, and provided safe, convenient places to walk or ride.


“The results show that Pilot Program investments countywide have markedly improved conditions, encouraging bicycling and walking, and that they are viable and healthy alternatives to driving,” said Supervisor Kathrin Sears, President of the Marin County Board of Supervisors.


The report documented the outcomes of the NTPP since it kicked off in 2006. Between the original funding allocation and subsequent extensions of the 2005 federal transportation bill, Marin and the other three pilot communities benefitted with more than $28 million each over eight years to implement a projects and programs to encourage biking and walking. In addition to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, Marin benefitted with traffic congestion relief, low-cost travel alternatives and improved public health.


The other communities included in the national report were: the Minneapolis metropolitan area in Minnesota; Sheboygan County, Wisconsin; and Columbia, Missouri. The report also covered benefits of nonmotorized transportation for each location from the environmental, safety, energy consumption and public health perspectives. The report culminated with lessons learned, best practices and future research opportunities. 

Here is the final report to Congress. Additional information on the local program can be obtained at www.walkbikemarin.org


DMC June 28, 2014 at 11:38 AM
Don't feed the troll's
novato 3per June 28, 2014 at 12:07 PM
Dave, you really think I'm the only 3 percenter in town ?
Tina McMillan June 28, 2014 at 01:47 PM
If we are going to safely increase bicycle riding in our downtown area we need to teach all our kids (including the ones old enough to know better) to follow road rules... All day long I see adults riding bikes that fails to stop at stop signs, red lights or crosswalks. Now we have children doing the same in the downtown area. ============================================ On Friday, I was coming out of the side street near La Hacienda to make a left onto Grant. I was creeping along because traffic on Grant was backed up and suddenly three groups of kids (late elementary age) whizzed by on bikes ridden on the sidewalk! It was by the grace of God that I didn't hit any of them because I couldn't see them and the groups were far enough apart that I couldn't even guess they were headed my way. Parents, please teach children bicycle safety rules and then follow them yourselves. ============================================ Novato has been discussing Streetscape design for North Redwood Blvd. It includes dedicated bike paths alongside pedestrian paths. If we don't begin enforcing laws with respect to bicycles, cars and pedestrians all on the same streets, people will get hurt or killed. FYI a bicycle is considered a vehicle by the PD and if it is not following the rules of the road in an accident with a car the car or the pedestrian are deemed blameless. When bikes are driven like there are no rules everyone is put in danger. ============================================= While I don't believe riding bikes to work is going to take enough traffic off the freeway to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, I do believe we all need to respect the rules of the road to remain safe.
Ventress Dugan June 28, 2014 at 05:49 PM
Thank you, Tina.....everyday I drive so defensively with the children out of school......the parents need to teach their children about bicycle safety.....everyone's life would change in an instant if there was an accident. Also, to add to the issue, car drivers are taking stupid chances by running stop signs, speeding and being distracted by cell phones....not a good combination. And why are these grown ups riding their bikes on the sidewalk? I was at Marvin's eating outside when 3 bike riders whizzed behind me, almost hitting me from behind. Where are the police, who should be handing out tickets?
Tina McMillan June 29, 2014 at 12:32 AM
It's scary in town and on the freeway. I was driving to San Rafael and saw a woman in a convertible Z3 writing in a notebook as she was driving 60 miles an hour. Talk about distracted! ============================================ There is a great program that comes to the high schools to talk about the dangers of distracted driving whether it's texting, talking, putting on makeup, eating, etc. Perhaps its better if parents attend with teens! ============================================ See Impact Teen Drivers: http://impactteendrivers.org/about/overview


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