Slip Lane Pilot FAQs
What is happening at Montecillo Road and Manual T. Freitas Parkway (Freitas)?
The City received requests to close the slip lane on the north side of Freitas Parkway at Montecillo and Bamboo Terrace. According to many residents, vehicles do not make a complete stop at the northmost stop sign and quickly turn right on Montecillo, then again turning right on Bamboo Terrace. When the driver does not take the time to stop at the stop sign, their vehicle is traveling quicker than the turn and site distance for the layout of these intersections. The Public Works Department, Traffic Division analyzed the site conditions and presented their findings to the Traffic Safety Committee. Based on their recommendations, the City closed the slip lane as part of a pilot study. In addition to this pilot study, the City recently completed a sidewalk replacement project in the area. For more information, please visit https://www.cityofsanrafael.org/freitas-parkway-sidewalk-replacement-construction-completed/
What is a Slip Lane?
A slip lane is generally defined as a short, one-way lane that allows a vehicle to turn onto a cross street without entering an intersection. Over 40 years ago, slip lanes were installed at intersections like Freitas following the standards of the time. However, modern design practice has moved away from slip lanes, and the associated “pork chop” pedestrian islands, for roadways such as Freitas. In some cases, slip lanes cause a “double-crossing” where pedestrians and bicycles are in the roadway (exposed to vehicular traffic) for a longer duration or in multiple locations crossing the same street. In addition, vehicles tend to drive too fast through slip lanes. It is important for pedestrian safety that vehicles slow down when turning at intersections, particularly onto residential streets.
How long is the pilot program?
The pilot program is six (6) months. A conversation with the results of the pilot program is anticipated to be presented at the April 2024 Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee meeting.
If the pilot is successful, what permanent improvements will be made in this location?
Currently, no funding is available for permanent large-scale improvements at the intersection. A major project must be evaluated and ranked as part of the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budgeting process. The City is currently considering Interim, low-cost, low maintenance solutions.
The community would like sidewalks and crosswalks on Montecillo from Bamboo Terrace to Freitas Parkway. When does the City plan to make these improvements? Why can’t the City stripe the crosswalks now?
It is the City’s practice to provide accessible sidewalks and curb ramps while a crosswalk is striped to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility standards. The City has an annual citywide program for concrete projects outside of larger CIP projects that are used to upgrade curb ramps, replace city-owned sidewalks, and do minor sidewalk gap closure projects. In fiscal year (FY) 21-22 the City replaced a section of asphalt concrete sidewalk adjacent to Point San Pedro Road, in FY 22-23, the City replaced a section of sidewalk on the south side of Freitas Parkway, and in FY 23-24, the City plans to replace curb ramps downtown in conjunction with a federally funded project by Marin County to add pedestrian push buttons at high collision intersections. The sidewalk closure, curb ramps, and crosswalk installation project that has been requested at this intersection is high on the City’s list. It is anticipated that this project will be completed in the next couple of years.