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Caltrans: New Tam Valley Traffic Lights Delayed Until End of February

Although equipment for signal at Shoreline Hwy. and Tennessee Valley Rd. has been in place for weeks, that light won't go live until the signal at Shoreline and Flamingo Rd. is done.

Mill Valley residents waiting for the long-delayed installation of traffic signals at a pair of Tam Junction intersections, one of which dates back more than 14 years to the approval to build Walgreens, have a few more weeks to wait.

That's the word from Caltrans, which is overseeing the traffic light installations at the oft-dicey intersections of Shoreline Hwy. and Tennessee Valley Rd. and Shoreline as it bends toward Tam Valley at Flamingo Road. Caltrans officials had said in November that the lights would be live by early January.

Caltrans spokesman Steve Williams said that while the equipment for the light at Tennessee Valley Rd. has been in place for several weeks, the activation of that light will occur at the same time as the light at Flamingo, which is less further along. Officials from the Marin County Department of Public Works, which is managing the projects, have said that some of the delay has involved getting the schedules of the various agencies – Caltrans, PG&E and the county – to synchronize.

"It's quite a process to do the testing and the activation procedures, so both lights will happen at the same time," Williams said.

The traffic signal at Flamingo Rd. was a condition of approval when the Marin County Planning Commission approved the construction of Walgreens at 227 Shoreline Hwy. in December 1998. The $525,000 project was delayed for years due to Caltrans review and budget shortfalls.

The signal at Tennessee Valley Rd. is part of the $4.6 million Tennessee-Manzanita Pathway Project, a multi-faceted project that seeks to connect the Mill Valley-Sausalito multi-use path, Tennessee Valley Road and Tam Junction for bicyclists and pedestrians. It includes the installation in June of a 100-foot bike and pedestrian bridge across Coyote Creek, as well as a raised boardwalk along Coyote Creek that allows for safe passage during high tide on both sides of Shoreline Hwy. and an offshoot path near Frantoio Ristorante connecting the path to Shoreline closer to Hwy.101, near the Manzanita Park & Ride.

The two new traffic lights will be synchronized with the light at Shoreline and Almonte Blvd., Williams said.

Exactly what that means will be determined in the days and weeks after the lights go live, Williams said, as Caltrans traffic engineers monitor the lights “and work out the bugs." The goal, he said, is to get traffic moving through those intersections more and smoothly than they have in recent years.

Tam Valley resident Kathy McLeod, a longtime local advocate for safety improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians in the area, said that while she'd rather the agencies get it right and not rush, the ongoing delay "is definitely frustrating."

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Rachelle Sarosi February 05, 2013 at 02:56 PM
Did Caltrans really need to install at last count 12 signals!! Talk about ruining the ambiance of the small town. I realize that safety measures need to be first but 12 signals, its only half an intersection. Looks just terrible ruined the whole beautiful hillside.

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