Monday, October 13, 2014

Big bucks for bikes in Marin

From Planning for Reality, a Marin County blog:

Thanks to highly effective bicycle lobbyists and “transit oriented development,” Marin’s commuters face another diversion of transportation funding. The Cal Park tunnel project works out at a cost of $675,000 to remove one car from our roads. That’s quite an extraordinary expense. And we now look set to follow this boondoggle with another bike path costing even more over the Richmond San Rafael Bridge.

SF Streetsblog, a pro-cycling and TOD site, reports:

After 17 years of planning, the Cal Park tunnel will open to Marin County cyclists today, providing a shorter, safer route between San Rafael and the Larkspur Ferry for an estimated 800,000 riders a year.

The 1.1-mile project includes class 1 bike lanes to connect the 1,106-foot bore with Sir Francis Drake Boulevard on the south and Anderson Road in San Rafael

So how much did the project cost? The initial estimate was $3m but by completion the cost had ballooned to $27m.

It’s claimed that tunnel will be used by 800,000 riders a year, a seemingly enormous number. This translates to 2,191 riders today if the claim is to be believed. Consider for perspective that the population of Marin is only 258,365 according to the latest US Census figures...

The actual bike counts for Cal Park tunnel itself are dismal, attaining an initial 60 riders average per hour during weekday peaks in 2011 but since dropping to just 40 in 2013.

If the 800,000 riders per year claim is to believed we should be seeing 2,191 riders per day, most during those peak hours, not a mere 40...

Here’s the math using the optimistic assumptions:

Expenditure: $27 million
Cars Removed: 40
Cost per Car Removed: $675,000

Compare this to the Novato Narrows project to add HOV lanes to 101. A recent 1.3 mile section of the project cost just $9m and will increase capacity by 1,200 cars or 1,356 people at peak, equivalent to add a capacity of 1 person for $6,637. That capacity will get used. The Novato Narrows increases transportation capacity for less than a hundredth of the cost of the Cal Park tunnel bike path...

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At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Richard looks at that 1.3 mile section that supposedly cost $9M. But it won't add jack shit of capacity because until the ENTIRE narrows is widened - there is no capacity increase.

So if we look at that WHOLE project - just adding lanes to the .17 mile section of US-101 on the bridge in Petaluma is costing $700M

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Darious said...

Glad to see this tunnel opening and I'm stoked to give it a ride soon!

If you're dumb enough to drive, you get what you pay for :-)

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're dumb enough to drive, you get what you pay for :-)

You actually get more than you pay for! Which makes it pretty smart actually - other people pay for you!

Smart for yourself. Bad for everyone else.

At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Gregski said...

Instead of trying to justify this project as another faith-based transit-mode-shifting chimera they could call it what it is in fact: an additional piece of recreational playground equipment for upper-middle-class adult white guys like me who will ride our $7,000 racing bikes through it on weekends. Finance it through the Parks and Rec budget where it belongs.

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

our $7,000 racing bikes through it on weekends

pics or it didn't happen.


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