Grand Avenue and Francisco Boulevard East form the primary corridor for residents living in the Canal Neighborhood, the most densely populated area in Marin County, to access the San Rafael Transit Center, SMART station, Montecito Plaza, and San Rafael High School. Local street connections between the Canal Neighborhood and the rest of the City are severely limited by the constraints of the San Rafael Canal waterway, the existing Grand Avenue Bridge, Highway 101, and Interstate 580. The Grand Avenue Pathway Connector Project (“Bridge Project”) will fill a significant bicycle/pedestrian safety gap within a major north-south corridor and will successfully link to other recently constructed bicycle/pedestrian improvements on both Grand Avenue and Francisco Boulevard East.
The Bridge Project will install a 12-foot-wide bicycle/pedestrian bridge immediately east of the existing vehicular bridge along Grand Avenue over the San Rafael Canal waterway and will link to the recently completed widened sidewalk at the intersection of Second Street at Grand Avenue. Furthermore, the Bridge Project will link to the future widened sidewalk along Francisco Boulevard East, planned for construction in 2020, thus providing a seamless bicycle/pedestrian facility from Downtown to the Canal Neighborhood that will greatly improve safety and connectivity in East San Rafael.