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Second and Fourth Street Intersection Improvements

Project Contact

Joanna Kwok, PE
Assistant Public Works Director/City Engineer


Project goals

  • Improve pedestrian and bicyclist experiences
  • Bring the intersection up to current design standards including compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards
  • Maintain critical access to neighborhoods and downtown, and reasonable vehicular traffic flow for local and regional traffic
  • Improve the downtown gateway experience


Planning/Design $230,000
Construction $4,000,000 (~$3 Million Grant Funded)


Design Completion & Bid 2024
Construction 2025


Fourth Street, also known as the “Miracle Mile” connects San Rafael to San Anselmo and all points west in Marin County. Through central San Rafael, Fourth Street is a retail shopping street but west of the downtown core, Fourth Street becomes a six-lane separated arterial street serving all of the commuters from West Marin who use the route to access Highway 101 as well as tourist traffic that traverses the stretch to reach West Marin and Point Reyes National Seashore and other coastal destinations.  The route serves nearly 20,000 vehicles per day and smooth traffic flow is essential to ensuring people can get to and from their destinations easily.

The corridor was built in the mid-20th century and has surpassed its useful life.  The traffic signals are outdated, pedestrian facilities do not meet the current ADA standards, and the facility is in need of major improvements to handle the multi-modal traffic using it each day.   The intersection of Fourth Street and Second Street is the City’s gateway from west Marin and serves local and regional transit buses for commuters and other users from and to West Marin County. The existing intersection contains five separate traffic signal phases, legs, each of which requires time for vehicles and pedestrian to transit through it.  The main routes are also at a skewed angle which creates confusion for bicycles, pedestrians, and motorists through the intersection. This project would reconfigure the streets so they meet as a tee-intersection, shortening the crossing distances and minimizing the number of crossings for pedestrians and bicycles. The five current legs would be reduced to three, shortening the wait times and improving throughout for all users here including public transit operations.  The project would also complete the Class IV bikeway connection from West Street to West End and the Greenfield Avenue bike facility, which is a critical connection listed as a top priority in the City’s Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan. Additionally, as part of this plan and to address traffic concerns at this intersection, one major improvement the City would like to make as part of its Third Street Corridor Rehabilitation and Safety Improvements project is a separated bicycle connection from Marquard Avenue to Miramar Avenue.

Other improvements include accessibility improvements, drainage, undergrounding of overhead electrical service, and the signalization of the intersection of West Crescent and Fourth Street providing safety and access improvements, and improving throughput at the currently non-signalized intersection.


Latest Concept Design

Posted August 2023

Upcoming Meetings

No events could be found.

Second and Fourth Street Intersection Improvements FAQs

The Second St and Fourth St intersection is the westerly gateway for the City of San Rafael serving pedestrians, bicyclists, transits, and motorists. However, this critical connection to San Rafael requires a substantial traffic-flow upgrade. This project will provide safety and access improvements, upgrade the intersection to meet current standards, and address the inefficiencies of the non-conventional intersection.

Project improvements include but are not limited to reconfiguring the intersection to include West End Ave and Marquard Ave into the signalized intersection, simplifying and straightening the pedestrian crossings, continuing the bikeway connection from the Third Street Corridor Rehabilitation project, and undergrounding overhead utility lines.

The current intersection design (as shown on the project website) was developed through the thoughtful and dynamic collaboration between numerous stakeholders, including the City of San Rafael (community members, adjacent property owners, City staff), utility companies, and transit agencies. The project team has prepared 65% construction documents and continues to collaborate with project stakeholders while navigating through the Caltrans’ Local Assistance Program process to ensure compliance with the OBAG 3 grant funding requirements.

The project team will be working towards 95% construction documents and anticipates design completion and bidding the project in 2024.

Project construction is anticipated to begin in 2025.

To minimize impacts to the community, City staff will coordinate with the project contractor to ensure bicyclist and pedestrian access and traffic flow are considered during the develop of the project construction schedule and traffic control plan. Advanced noticing and robust communication will occur prior to the implementation of the traffic control plan, and a project contact will be designated and made available to assist with any inquiries on the project.

Design and construction of the proposed traffic signal for West Crescent and Fourth St intersection is/will be a part of the Second St and Fourth St intersection project. Construction of the traffic signal at West Crescent Dr and Fourth St is anticipated to begin in 2025.

Yes, West End Ave will remain a two-way street. At the proposed project intersection, vehicles from Second St and Marquard Ave can enter West End Ave (westbound) and vehicles from West End Ave (eastbound) can make a right turn only onto Marquard Ave. Vehicles on West End Ave can access Second St through the signalized intersection at Greenfield Ave and Fourth St.  

Advanced signage will be installed along Greenfield Ave to direct vehicles to Fourth St for access to Second St towards Downtown San Rafael. Striping improvements are being implemented at the intersection of West End Ave and Greenfield Ave to improve access from West End Ave to Fourth St. Traffic signal timing adjustments have been made and will continue to be monitored to improve access from Greenfield Ave to Fourth St (especially for the eastbound direction). 

Yes, vehicles on Second St (westbound) can make a left turn onto Marquard Ave at the proposed project intersection. Vehicles from Fourth St can access Marquard Ave from the intersection of West End Ave and Greenfield Ave, travel eastbound on West End Ave and make a right turn onto Marquard Ave. At the proposed project intersection, vehicles from Marquard can also make a left turn onto West End Ave (westbound) or make a right turn into a slip lane that then merges into Second St (eastbound). 

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