In Support of Improving Camino Alto & Horse Hill Multi-use Path
We, the undersigned residents of Mill Valley and Corte Madera, hereby urge the Marin County Board of Supervisors to allocate whatever resources may be available for the improvement of bicycle and pedestrian access between Mill Valley and Corte Madera to the upgrading and beautifying of the Horse Hill route and to widening Camino Alto/ Corte Madera Avenue in order to make it safer.
Now that the draft of the Mill Valley to Corte Madera Bicycle and Pedestrian Corridor Study is completed, with cost estimates to re-construct the Alto Tunnel and to improve access to both of its portals ranging from a low of $48,253,660 to a high of $59,503,893*, we believe that this option is prohibitively expensive, and cannot be justified by any measure of value. We also note that that these estimates do not include the cost of acquiring the necessary 7 parcels of privately held land required to complete the project, each of which is the setting for an occupied home, or, alternatively, of acquiring the rights to cross them, which would be problematic at best.
We further believe that the much more reasonable estimated cost of $4,369,778 to $5,514,939* to improve the existing Horse Hill route (a figure which omits two gold-plated upgrades suggested in the study, namely the construction of a bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Blithedale for $3.4 – $4,000,000** and the flattening out of a small section of the route for $6,980,000***) would be a wise investment. Unlike the Alto Tunnel, the Horse Hill route already connects Mill Valley residents with destinations to which they currently drive, such as Town Center, businesses along Tamalpais Drive, and The Village Shopping Mall, so making that route more desirable has the potential to significantly reduce the number of vehicular trips between the two cities.
Many of us use Camino Alto every day to access our neighborhoods, and we agree with the Marin County Bicycle Coalition that the Camino Alto/Corte Madera Avenue route is unsafe for cyclists. We also agree with the Study that there will always be bicycle enthusiasts who will prefer the challenges of this route to the other options; therefore, we believe that any funds available after the improvement of the Horse Hill route should be used to widen and improve the Camino Alto route wherever possible to create more separation between bicycle and vehicular traffic, estimated in the Study to cost between $4,644,473 and $5,465,647*.
In fact, the County could complete both the Horse Hill and the Camino Alto projects for about 1/6th of the cost to reconstruct the Alto Tunnel; the combined result as estimated in the Study would reduce Vehicle Miles Travelled, a prime goal of these projects, by 75% of the figure projected for the reconstructed tunnel****, making this option a far more efficient use of precious resources.
We therefore urge you to discard the tunnel option once and for all and to concentrate on improving the Horse Hill route and making Camino Alto safer for all users. Thank you.
* Page 4-2
** Page 2-8
*** Page 2-26
**** Page 1-14