Marin County’s Cal Park Tunnel (finally) opens to much fanfare!
In what was one of the most incredible showings of humanity for the opening of a bicycle & pedestrian path anywhere in the U.S., hundreds of cyclists - and hundreds more walkers and elected officials - showed up on a Friday afternoon to cut the ribbon on the long-awaited Cal Park Tunnel in Marin County, California.
The project has been talked about since the late 70s and in active development for the last twelve years. For Marin cyclists, the 1.2 mile bike-ped path/tunnel combo adds a critical, safe link to the north-south bikeway that will eventually run from the Golden Gate Bridge to Cloverdale in Sonoma County. It is expected to shave nearly 15 minutes off of trips and serve up to 800,000 riders a year. And also just as important: the rail right-of-way has been maintained so that in the future SMART light rail vehicles can use the tunnel too!
The Cal Park Tunnel has some top-notch features: ample lighting, cell phone reception, emergency phone call boxes, a ventilation system and smooth pavement. To read up on loads more history of the tunnel and information, check out StreetsblogSF's great recap from last week.
Deb Hubsmith: [00:07] I am so excited about today’s event. It is amazing to see how many people turned out to celebrate the opening of the Cal Park Hill Tunnel, which is going to make it safer and easier for people to be able to walk and bike, and really represents the dawning of a new era for bicycling here in Marin County.
Kim Baenisch: [00:22] We’ve been working at this for about twelve years now to open up this tunnel and it is just amazing to see that it has finally come. It’s 1.2 miles from sort of tip to tip of the paved paths, including the stretch of the tunnel. The tunnel itself is about 1100 feet long. This is a state of the art facility. It’s got lighting and cellphone accessibility and security cameras and beautiful smooth pavement, the ventilation system. I mean what more could you ask for? And it’s for bikes and peds.
Tim Blumenthal: [00:53] Anytime you get together a hundred or two hundred, I don’t even know how many people are here, and you do a bike ride for the first time in a new place, it’s a special moment.
Charles McGlashan: [01:01] We had a huge turnout today, a whole bunch of people on foot, in wheelchairs and on bikes. It was an awesome demonstration of a vision of a multi-use path.
Deb Hubsmith: [01:09] This vision for having a bicycle and pedestrian pathway parallel to the rail line has been alive since in the 1970’s. A lot of agencies came together. There were some fights along the way. We had to stop a parking lot from being built at one side of the tunnel.
Steve Kinsey: [01:23] You know the future for our country depends on taking on these kinds of challenges, giving people healthier opportunities, to include exercise in their mobility, to reduce our fuel consumption, and to have a whole lot of fun while they’re moving around.
Tim Blumenthal: [01:38] This is really a big development because this is a classic example of a tunnel replacing around about way that goes around the mountain. And when you can make bicycling faster than any other way to travel from one point, point A to point B, you really win.
Kim Baenisch: [01:52] Well depending on how slow you ride or fast you ride, easily shave off 15 minutes from a bike commute between Downtown Sante Rafael and the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.
Joe Breeze: [02:05] Who was this tunnel originally made for? Well it was the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad out of Tiburon, going up through Sante Rafael and up north. In 1884 they built this tunnel to get a flat route over the Tiburon.
Tim Blumenthal: [02:22] And when the rail declined after the Golden Gate Bridge was put in and everybody started driving, it was kind of forgotten, and now it’s been revived and not only for bikes and for people on foot, but I believe also for trains ultimately.
Charles McGlashan: [02:33] The vision is that someday on, right on the other side of this wall here, the SMART cars will be coming through bringing people from Sonoma County all the way here to the Larkspur Ferry.Transcription Sponsored by: Transcript Divas Transcription Services