The ceremony, which featured Mill Valley Mayor Ken Wachtel, City Councilmember Stephanie Moulton-Peters and Marin County District 3 Supervisor Kate Sears, along with a number of City and County employees and stakeholders, was held to mark the completion of the new roundabout at the intersection of the path and the end of Sycamore Avenue.
“This is such a great collaborative project,” Sears said. “We all know the incredible number of users who use this path. I am really hoping it has an impact on slowing everyone down.”
One of the goals of the roundabout is to improve safety and reduce tension on the path, where the interface of many different types and large numbers of users often creates friction. There are well over a half-million people who use the path between March and November each year and as many as 700 pedestrians and bicyclists use it over a two-hour period each day, according to the annual WalkBikeMarin Path Counts.
That friction became a major issue in late 2014, when a cyclist crashed into two young soccer players, injuring all three of them. Residents and users of the path called for the County, which owns and manages the path itself, to enforce speed limits for cyclists. That enforcement has increased, and County officials are considering lower the speed limit from 15mph to 10mph for portions of or all of the path, both as a way to improve safety on the path but also as a way to divert faster cyclists from the path and onto Almonte Blvd. and Camino Alto.
The roundabout also includes a small plaza with a bike map kiosk and water fountain. The $368,000 project was built by Ghilotti Brothers and paid for primarily via Parks and Open Space Measure A funds.
The roundabout is a key piece to the larger efforts to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians in the area around Mill Valley Mill School. In 2014, the City built multi-use paths along Camino Alto between Miller and Sycamore avenues and on Sycamore between Camino Alto and the Multi-Use Path, and also added sharrows, which indicate to bicyclists and motorists that the roadway is shared by bikes and cars, along segments of Sycamore and Locust Avenues and La Goma Street.