Marin County Bicycle Coalition

2020 – $10,000 Funding for More Emergency Bike Lanes During COVID-19  Pandemic
2019 – $15,000 General Support
2018 – $20,000 The Alto Tunnel Project

MCBC General

Marin County Bicycle Coalition’s mission is to promote safe bicycling for everyday transportation and recreation. MCBC sees the bicycle as a vehicle for change capable of making Marin’s communities happier and healthier by improving air quality and public health, and reducing traffic congestion.

MCBC has been a leader in bicycle advocacy at the local, state, and national levels since 1998. Using a two-pronged approach to promote bicycling, MCBC teaches children and adults how to ride responsibly and safely, while also advocating for the infrastructure improvements needed to make bicycling a safe and convenient option in all of Marin County.

As part of a new 5-year Strategic Plan, MCBC’s goal is to create a bicycle-centric Marin and build the power and influence of MCBC across all of this county’s communities. In order to make bicycling a viable option for the thousands of Marin residents who are able to bike but experience hurdles, MCBC is exploring how to promote and overcome obstacles to bicycling for transportation through outreach and engagement strategies. This work will focus on addressing the transportation needs and barriers in communities of concern that will be most impacted by severely reduced transit service, including Marin City, San Rafael, and Novato.

MCBC is advocating to make bicycling safe and convenient for people of all ages and abilities. With a goal to share the joy and benefits of bicycling for transportation and recreation with new and emerging riders, MCBC is adding several exciting programs targeting women, children, BIPOC, and underserved communities over the next five years.

Program/Funding Updates

Several programs that have benefited from Seed Fund’s support include advocating for Slow Streets during Shelter-in-Place in 2020, supporting community ambassadors in “Communities of Concern” in Marin, and spearheading the advocacy effort to complete the North-South Greenway with the Alto Tunnel Project.

During Shelter-in-Place in early 2020, MCBC promoted and suggested ways in which each jurisdiction in Marin might repurpose streets, and provided technical assistance to those that were interested in opening streets to pedestrians and people on bicycles. MCBC also took this opportunity to promote the quick-build approach to creating bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as the simplicity and effectiveness of “open streets.”

Many downtowns around Marin went car-free to create space for people to dine outdoors. Nearly all of Marin’s cities and towns approved ordinances allowing businesses to expand operations into adjacent public spaces, including on and off-street parking. As a result, families arriving to town centers by bike experienced a heightened quality of life, especially important during the Shelter-in-Place. Several towns including Novato, San Rafael, San Anselmo, Tiburon, and Sausalito went a step further and completely closed portions of their main streets to cars weekly for the entire summer.

Alto Tunnel Project

Since its founding in 1998, MCBC has been instrumental in building the political will and securing the funding needed to close several gaps along the North-South Greenway. Alto Tunnel is now the highest priority project within the Greenway.

Alto Tunnel is the lynchpin of the North-South Greenway, a regional connection that will make bicycling a safe and convenient option for people who live, work, and visit Marin and Sonoma Counties. When reopened, it will greatly enhance the ease with which people can bike between Central and Southern Marin, and by extension, San Francisco.

MCBC continues to work with and guide community-based group Friends of Alto Tunnel (FOAT) to champion this effort. MCBC is committed to providing FOAT with support through technical assistance, strategic guidance, and community outreach assistance en route to building the remaining political support needed to pursue federal, state, and regional funds for the project.

MCBC has always known that reopening the tunnel would require a sustained and resolute effort. With no studies remaining, the advancement of the project is at a critical juncture. MCBC is now looking to win political support–thereby moving toward implementation–by catalyzing neighborhood-level discussions aimed at 1) demonstrating the tunnel’s value, 2) answering financial questions, and 3) addressing neighborhood concerns.

The Seed Fund’s support is enabling MCBC’s community outreach coordination and strategic guidance by 1) aiding in the recruitment, training, and mobilization of neighborhood representatives, and 2) assisting with the facilitation of community workshops, walking tours, and listening sessions aimed at addressing and mitigating concerns related to neighborhood impacts.

Perhaps more importantly, though, the community engagement work enabled by the Seed Fund is helping this project to serve as a national model in building grassroots support for visionary bicycle and pedestrian projects that face local resistance due to high capital costs and perceived neighborhood impacts.