County Narrows Evergreen Ave. Sidewalk Plan, Moves Ahead

With latest iteration of much-debated project to make road safer, county officials hope to address concerns of opponents and begin construction next summer.

Nearly a year after the on Evergreen Ave. in an effort to quell a firestorm of criticism of the project, county officials have narrowed it further, hoping to get the much-debated sidewalk back on track and ready to begin construction next summer.

In a letter (attached at right) sent to 1,000 residents of Homestead Valley last week, Bob Beaumont, the county’s chief assistant director of public works, said the county has received approval from Caltrans to reduce the width of the sidewalk another six inches to 4.5 feet, down from the original proposal of 6 feet and a revised width of 5 feet proposed last November.

The $1.1 million project, the bulk of which would be paid for by a state Safe Routes to Schools grant, would create a sidewalk along a 2,000-foot stretch of Evergreen from Mill Valley city limits (250 feet east of Ethel Avenue) to the intersection with Melrose, where is located. It includes curbs and gutters, six new crosswalks, 11 accessible curb ramps, 29 new driveway aprons and myriad drainage improvements.

Ernest Klock, the county’s principal engineer, said the county lobbied Caltrans and Safe Routes officials to approve the less-than-standard width to accommodate the narrow roadway and residents’ concerns about safety, street parking and aesthetics.

“They determined that it is better to provide that safe route than having the standard get in the way of any project being completed,” Klock said.

County officials continue to work with Caltrans on approval to use a more neutral color for the disabled access ramps at intersections than the standard yellow normally used, Klock said. The bright yellow was an additional aesthetic concern expressed by some residents.

“We know that the project has the support of the majority of residents in that area, and that there are others who will be opposed to any sidewalk project,” Klock said.

The county’s latest change was enough to convince Evergreen Ave. Keith Garriott, a one-time critic of the project who said the additional width reduction was enough.

“It’s pretty much what I asked for and it took a year to come to that conclusion,” he said. “If anybody is against the sidewalk now, I don’t know what other reason there could be other than not wanting to have a sidewalk at all.”

Garriott said despite the lengthy delays, the project was better for the additional debate and consideration of residents’ concerns. He said county officials initially tried to rush through a project that wasn’t a good fit for Evergreen.

“We felt like it was a done deal before we even had a chance to look at it,” he said. “But I’m glad people spoke up about this.”

Homestead Valley resident Scott Greenstone, who lives on Laverne Ave. and is a parent of a student at Marin Horizon School, said the revisions still provide for a safe passageway for walkers and bicyclists.

“I think they made a mountain out of a molehill,” he said of the project’s opponents. “The effect of all of their complaining was to delay the project a year. But it’s my impression that a majority of the community still supports this.”

Klock said the county plans to work with individual property owners along the stretch of Evergreen to discuss specific impacts on their properties on things like drainage. Supervisor Steve Kinsey plans to host a public pre-construction meeting in the spring to outline a construction timeline “to give residents a specific sense of how the project's construction will impact them,” he said.

Rebecca March 12, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Lets also be honest- this is not a sidewalk that is being built to keep all kids safe. If that is true then why is it only being built on the route that MHS children would take to school? (from whole foods where they get dropped off to their school) Scott Street isn't getting a sidewalk! Theres no room. What about the local kids in the community, they will only be safe to walk to a school they do NOT go to. Because NO kids in Homestead go to MHS.
Frank Lurz June 03, 2012 at 11:47 PM
As the will of Evergreen residents is about to be stamped permanently into the dust by Marin Horizon School, Inc.'s board of trustees, and by its hired menial, Supervisor Steve "Red Tag" Kinsey, I once again register my principal justification for opposing the sidewalk: the street isn't dangerous! On numerous occasions I have invited the Board of Supervisors to simply come here and look for themselves; it was too much to ask. While this development juggernaut cannot be stopped, I encourage any home owner with an open mind to look at the photo at the top of this page. The empty ("dangerous") street you see is Evergreen. I didn't take that photo, but I've taken many others that look just like it — because the street virtually always looks that way. You can see those photos at http://www.fencing.franklurz.com/Pages/evergreen.html. Look at them, consider what is being done to our defenseless home owners, learn from this example, and then prepare yourselves for a mean, dirty fight should business interests with servile politicians in their pockets decide to invade your neighborhood to benefit themselves at your expense!
HV Majority June 04, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Oh yes! Please do check out those pics and then look at Frank's blog! http://franklurz.blogspot.com/ Sure you can see pictures taken and labeled selectively to show a desired image, but you can also read the lunatic rantings of the leaders of the anti-sidewalk crowd. Then you can determine where the problems really exist.
Mari June 04, 2012 at 04:49 PM
The problems exist in the minds of people who think that money and power are more important than our natural resources and civil rights.
Mari July 12, 2012 at 04:56 PM
oh - and HV Majority - I happen to think Frank is a good writer - and if you had any sense - you would wake up and realize we were not only trying to preserve our community aesthetic and Evergreen's perfect safety record - we were trying to do MHS a favor by stopping the slab. Has it ever occurred to you that by forcing this project- that whether or not it is the school's fault - that they will bear the brunt of the negative PR long term?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »