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Towns Support Efforts for Fairfax to San Rafael Trolley Study

San Anselmo, San Rafael and Fairfax officials have expressed support for the Transportation Authority of Marin to seek One Bay Area funds to study if a trolley could connect the towns.

If you could take a trolley from Fairfax to San Rafael, would you use it?

Efforts are moving forward to look into just how rational it is to have a trolley - or some other sort of public transportation such as a light rail - connecting Fairfax, San Anselmo and San Rafael. 

Transportation officials were originally looking into a trolley system between downtown Sausalito and downtown Mill Valley. But after efforts began in 2007, it was determined it was too costly a venture for its limited destinations and usage.

The San Anselmo, San Rafael and Fairfax councils have all shown support for the Transportation Authority of Marin to apply for One Bay Area Grant funding for a feasibility study for the Fairfax to San Rafael transit corridor. The public seems to also like the idea. Of the 58 people who voted in our unscientific poll on the subject in June, 86 percent said there should be a trolley linking Fairfax to the San Rafael transit center.

The municipalities wouldn’t pay for the study, expected to cost $100,000, but each town would have a staff member serve on a technical advisory committee.

Transportation Authority of Marin Executive Director Dianne Steinhauser outlined the project details to the San Anselmo council at its Oct. 23 meeting.

The route is currently proposed as running from White’s Hill in Fairfax to the future SMART station in San Rafael, or possibly to the Montecito Shopping Center, according to Steinhauser.

The TAM board will vote at its Nov. 29 meeting on which applications, including the Fairfax to San Rafael corridor study, will ultimately be submitted for the OBAG funds, awarded by the Oakland-based Metropolitan Transportation Commission

The study, which will be done by TAM with San Anselmo, Fairfax, San Rafael, Marin County, the local nonprofit Marin Trolley and Marin Transit, would look at:

  • Evaluation of route options, including assessment of traffic and parking impacts
  • Cost estimates for vehicles, capital improvements, maintenance and storage
  • A preliminary business plan for operation of the line, including estimated ridership and potential user groups
  • Revenue options, including fare revenue, advertising, private funding options and grants

What's your reaction? Do you like the idea of a trolley or light rail connecting the towns? Tell us below in the comments!

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