Canal Neighborhood Improvements


The City of San Rafael is actively engaged in several construction related projects in the Canal neighborhood. From Street pavement improvements, to public lighting, to pump station repair and replacement, there is no shortage of projects that the City has recently completed or is in active construction in the Canal neighborhood. This site is intended to serve as a central access point for community members, stakeholders, City staff and any others to find the most up to date information on projects specifically located and which serve the Canal neighborhood of San Rafael.

Lighting Improvements

San Rafael's storied Canal neighborhood includes some of the most densely populated Marin County residential areas frequented by walkers, bikers, commuters, and residents alike. However, some residential neighborhoods lack adequate lighting, which can lead to reduced pedestrian safety, walkability, and increased opportunities for illegal dumping at night. In response to community feedback, advocacy groups and organizations led by Voces del Canal (project team) identified areas that needed more public lighting. The project team has worked with City staff to improve lighting infrastructure in key areas in the Canal.

Learn more about the Canal Community Lighting Project here.

Sidewalk Repair and Pavement Maintenance in Canal District

The Canal neighborhood's sidewalks are heavily used due to high pedestrian and bicycle activity, in addition to their age and proximity the San Rafael Canal. Public Works staff have identified the popular thoroughfares of Canal St. and Kerner Blvd. for sidewalk maintenance repairs beginning Monday, December 12th through Wednesday, December 28th.

In addition to its sidewalks, the Canal neighborhood's streets experience significantly more traffic and fall into disrepair due to the higher concentration of vehicles per residence. In response, Public Works staff have selected several streets in the Canal neighborhood to be improved through the City's pavement management program in FY 2022/23.

See the map of planned sidewalk repair and pavement maintenance projects in the Canal district here.

Stop Sign Installation

At the west leg of Bellam Blvd. and Catalina Blvd., DPW staff added Stop Signs to slow vehicular traffic and increase pedestrian and bicycle safety.

See the map of Stop Signs installation here.

Pickleweed Park Enhancement Project

Pickleweed Park and the Albert J. Boro Community Center serve as a gathering point for San Rafael’s communities where partnerships and collaborations engage public, private and civil sectors in delivering services that better the neighborhood, the City of San Rafael and the County of Marin. Typically, the heavily used sports fields are closed for six months of the year to repair and rejuvenate the natural turf.  The community highlighted converting the field to synthetic turf for year-round access as a top priority. From this feedback, the City developed a conceptual plan, which was used in 2020 and 2022 to apply for funding from Proposition 68 and the Land and Later Conservation Fund. The City is happy to announce that, as of July 2022, California State Parks has recommended the Pickleweed Park Enhancement Project to the National Park Service for a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant. 

To learn more about the Pickleweed Enhancement Project, visit the dedicated webpage here.

Spinnaker Point Parking Modification

To help alleviate the community’s need for additional parking, modifications will be made along the north side of Spinnaker Point Drive near the Albert J Boro Community Center. The sidewalk will be realigned and angled parking will be installed. This will add 16 new parking spaces for nearby residents.

The project started construction on Monday, October 10th and has made significant progress since.  New concrete for the re-aligned curb and gutter and accessible parking stall has already been poured.  The project will continue to move West towards the Community Center, removing and installing new concrete sidewalk as they progress.

There have been small delays due to weather, but the project continues to move forward.  The week of December 12th, the contractor began to lay conduit for the 4 new streetlights that will be installed.  The new streetlights are expected to arrive before the end of 2022 and will be installed in early January.  The final phase of the project will be to stripe the new parking stalls.  The entire project is projected to be complete by late January 2023.

To learn more about the Spinnaker Point Drive parking modifications project, visit the webpage here.

Canal Community Based Transportation Plan

Department of Public Works Traffic Division staff worked closely with Canal community stakeholders to create the 'Canal Community Based Transportation Plan'  in 2022. The plan allows community members, stakeholders and City leaders to understand challenges, hear community input, draft a long term plan and identify funding for future transportation projects in the Canal neighborhood.

Learn more about the Canal Based Transportation Plan here.

Pickleweed Branch Library 

We are excited to announce that City of San Rafael has been selected to receive a $1M grant from the California State Library’s Building Forward program to redesign and expand the interior space at the Pickleweed Branch library. This grant will allow us to increase public and staff space within the current footprint of the building by creatively redesigning the interior of this much-loved branch library to improve both the patron and staff experience. The Building Forward program prioritizes projects in high-poverty areas and those that address life-safety and critical maintenance and infrastructure needs. The grant requires a 100% match, which the City will achieve through the gracious memorial funds that have been established for improved Library facilities and services.

Establishing New Underground Utility District 

The Department of Public Works is partnering with PG&E to establish an underground utility district (UUD) on Canal Street between Medway Road to Spinnaker Point Drive as part of the “Rule 20A Utility Undergrounding Program.” The Rule 20A program and this partnership will greatly benefit the community by initiating a project to remove and underground unattractive overhead wires. In late-September 2022, City staff, PG&E, and other utility representatives walked along Canal Street and its adjoining side streets to confirm limits of the new UUD, discussed potential challenges, and identified points of connection to the existing utility systems. City staff continues to meet and work with PG&E representatives to update and finalize the boundary of the new UUD.

View the Public Meeting on Canal Area Improvements at the Link Below (Passcode: U5=@e#fj)

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