First, the good news: Marin Municipal Water District has directed staff to place a potential new emergency water pipeline under the upper deck of the Richmond San Rafael Bridge rather than on top of the upper deck and in the bicycle and pedestrian path. While much has to happen before a new pipeline is a reality, Marin County hopes to have the pipeline operational by Summer 2022.
The bad news on the pipeline is the water district wants to trench the bike ped connector path in Richmond to bury the water pipeline. It is unclear how trenching would affect access to the connection path, and Bike East Bay and Marin County Bicycle Coalition have asked that the water district find a different land side route for the pipeline and minimize any closures of path.
The water district will also be using “emergency” procedures under Governor’s drought declaration to minimize public involvement. The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) gets an update on all of this Wednesday, October 13, at 9:30am and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) does as well on Wednesday, October 20, 6:00pm.
- Richmond San Rafael pathway remain in place and open during any pipeline construction;
- Congestion pricing be implemented prior to adding a 3rd Westbound vehicle lane to the bridge
The Transportation Authority of Marin is under pressure to convert your bike path on the bridge to a 3rd westbound travel lane during morning commute hours and elected officials need to hear more support for the bike path. The current 4-year pilot of the bridge path runs through 2024. It will take a lot of money to convert the bike path to a 3rd lane, and conversion will only move congestion from the Richmond approach to the bridge over into Marin County, and increase delays for commuters heading south into San Francisco.
The good news here is that congestion pricing solves congestion concerns–imagine that! It does this by spreading out the morning commute rush over a longer period of time in the morning–it’s actually that simple.
Link to other resources on this issue: