The Marin County Board of Supervisors gave the green light last week to a project making it easier and safer for pedestrians along Evergreen Avenue between Miller Avenue and Marin Horizon School.
By accepting a $900,000 Safe Route to School grant, the board set in motion plans including the construction of new sidewalks, curbs and gutters, disability ramps at each corner and driveway aprons along Evergreen Avenue from the Mill Valley city limits (250 feet east of Ethel Avenue) to the intersection with Melrose. Construction is set for summer 2011.
A committee of local residents held a public meeting on the project July 14 at Marin Horizon School. Roz Hamar, head of Marin Horizon, spearheaded the committee and said there were a wide range of concerned expressed by Homestead Valley residents.
"There was some concern that the sidewalk project would change the nature of the valley," she said. "There wouldn't be any federal funding for our projects without our school, but this project doesn't just benefit our students. Students from our neighborhood that go to Tam High and anyone that uses Evergreen to get down to Miller does as well. Safety ought to come first."
Bob Beaumont, chief assistant director of the county's Department of Public Works, said some residents of the southern side of Evergreen, where the new sidewalk will be built, wanted to know how the project would impact their property lines. There was also discussion of drainage, as Evergreen often has drainage issues in the winter, Beaumont said.
"As tends to work in Marin, there was no universal accord," Beaumont said. "The clear majority were in favor. There some concerns from residents, but nothing that made me feel that we had to abandon the project. There are just a few things we have to examine as we move forward."
The project will not decrease parking on Evergreen, and Beaumont said the county is exploring the possibility of installing "sharrows," or painted markers that indicate the street is a safe bicycle route.
The estimated cost of design and construction of the project is $1.1 million. The county will pay for the project and the grant will reimburse it for $900,000, leaving the county's tab at $200,600.
To meet the funding requirements, the project must be awarded for construction by June 2011, with construction occurring over the summer while Marin Horizon School is not in regular session. The county expects to finish the project before August 2011, when the school starts its fall session.