San Anselmo approves study for traffic-prone Hub

Drivers+wait+to+head+south+on+Sir+Francis+Drake+Boulevard+at+the+Hub+intersection+in+San+Anselmo+Calif.%2C+on+Thursday%2C+Dec.+10%2C+2020

Sophia Minutoli

Drivers wait to head south on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard at the Hub intersection in San Anselmo Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020

The San Anselmo Town Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, Nov. 22, to approve a $349,950 traffic study at the Hub, hoping to improve traffic flow at the intersection. The Hub, which connects San Anselmo, Fairfax, and Ross to San Rafael and Highway 101, is known by town officials as one of the most congested intersections in Marin.

“An incredible amount of cars go through the hub, and the experience…(it) is not a particularly inviting one for cars, as well as for pedestrians and bicyclists,”said Councilman Brian Colbert.

The contract with Parisi Transportation Consulting aims to find a way to reduce traffic and improve safety for cars, bicycles, and pedestrians in the intersection, which is known to cause frustration for many Marin County residents.

“The project entails gathering and analyzing intersection data, assessing community needs and goals through a series of workshops and stakeholder meetings. From there, Parisi traffic engineers will provide a report of recommendations for short, medium, and long-term improvements, including conceptual alternatives,” Councilwoman Alexis Fineman said.

Drivers wait to head north on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard at the Hub intersection in San Anselmo Calif., on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020 (Madie Butler)

Town officials are considering turning the intersection into a roundabout.

“I’m very excited to see how feasible a roundabout would be for cars, ” said Councilman Brian Colbert, “But, in my mind, that’s really going to be short-term thinking… I actually think there is an opportunity to really do something generational and imaginative that is all for sustainability.”

“As our climate destabilizes in the coming decades, grid interruptions are likely to be increasingly common and planning for this via passive infrastructure will help maintain safety and normalcy through such interruptions,” Fineman said. regarding the possibility of a roundabout.

Since traffic patterns have changed during the coronavirus pandemic, Parisi will look at historical traffic data, as well as the current changes in traffic patterns.

A town report found that around 65,000 vehicles go through the intersection every day, and it is common for drivers to get stuck at the intersection for 20 minutes or longer. The intersection is also a pain for bicyclists and pedestrians. The report shows that bicyclists and pedestrians find the Hub “difficult to navigate.”

“I’d like to see stronger protections for cyclists, for one, because getting people out of cars and onto bikes reduces both traffic and pollution, but our current bike infrastructure is insufficient and too unsafe for that to happen at scale,” Fineman said.

The majority of the project will be paid for by a $309,000 federal grant from One Bay Area Grant 2 program. The Transportation Authority of Marin executed an agreement to provide the funds in January 2019, and San Anselmo will cover the remaining $40,050 using funds from either the Road Maintenance Fund or the 2020-2021 Town Budget and Work Plan. The study is expected to take one year to complete.

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