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Third Street Corridor Rehabilitation and Safety Improvements


Project goals


Planning/Design$1,800,000 (Grant funded)
Construction$20,000,000 (Total with other Agencies Portions of Project, $12,500,000 Grant Funded)


Third Street is a critical component of San Rafael’s transportation network. It serves tens of thousands of residents on a daily basis as they travel to work, school, recreation, and retail destinations. The County’s busiest transit node, the Bettini Transit Center, brings nearly 9,000 people daily to and through Third Street as they use Golden Gate and Marin Transit services. As SMART continues to grow its system, it could bring thousands more transit users to the corridor. Third Street is not only important to San Rafael, but serves regional need linking Highway 101 and West Marin communities.

Traffic Signals at Third Street and Tamalpais Avenue

The City of San Rafael has an allocation from the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) through the Measure A program to rehabilitate Third Street. The City completed a feasibility study for the corridor and presented to City Council on June 3, 2019. Based on funding, the City split the Third Street Project into two projects:

  1. The Third Street Rehabilitation project is funded through TAM Measure A funds and Local Partnership Program through the State. The limits of the Rehabilitation Project are from Lindaro Street to just east of the Fourth Street intersection.
  2. The Third Street Safety project is federally funded through Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), locally through TAM Measure A, and state funded through Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program State Bill 1 (SB 1).  The limits of the Safety Project are from Union Street to Lindaro Street.

In Fall 2019, the City issued a request for proposals for the design of the two projects and retained CSW|ST2 and Kimley-Horn to lead the Third Street Rehabilitation project and Safety project, respectively. The initial investigations and preliminary engineering concepts have begun. The City and design teams will set up a series of virtual community outreach options for the projects in late summer 2020. These outreach opportunities will review design progress and options based on the preferred alternative from the feasibility study.

The projects will continue to build on existing studies, community input, and City goals of congestion relief, improving safety, and complete street options for Third Street.

Third Street - Proposed Cross-sections from Marquard Avenue to Miramar Avenue

One of the major improvements the City would like to make as a part of this project is a separated bicycle connection from Marquard Avenue to Miramar Avenue, in order to achieve the complete street goals. This would fill a gap in the Cross-Marin Bikeway that is supported by the communities along the Miracle Mile corridor. To the west, this bicycle facility would connect to the existing Greenfield Bicycle Boulevard. To the east, this would connect to a future First Street Bicycle Boulevard/Safe Routes to School pathway.  This connection can be found in the San Rafael Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan as well. An unfortunate outcome of building the bicycle connection is the likely result in the loss of a few on-street parking on the south side of Second-Third Street from Marquard Avenue to Shaver Street. After receiving feedback from the community, the City revised the original concept that removed on-street parking with the concept that is linked below. This concept preserves several on-street parking spaces. The design team is still working through the construction details and the plans will be posted on this webpage as they are developed.

Third Street -  Lindaro Intersection

The intersection of Third Street and Lindaro Street is a four-legged, 90-degree intersection, except the north leg serves a city-owned parking lot driveway (versus being a typical street) and there is a stop-controlled side street (Lootens Place) just 60 feet to the west. Historical turning movement counts from 2016 and 2017 indicate 80 vehicles use the driveway during the morning peak hour and 110 vehicles use the driveway during the evening peak hour. In order to “standardize” the intersection of Third Street and Lindaro Street, the project proposal presented at the November 2, 2020 council meeting closed the north leg (parking lot driveway) to vehicles.

After the November 2, 2020 City Council meeting, approximately 13 letters were received and 40 residents and/or business owners signed a petition asking City Council and Staff to reconsider the closure of the Walgreens driveway. The main concern is that they would have to drive further to get to their destinations downtown, resulting in increased vehicle-pedestrian conflicts at adjacent intersections because of the additional turns. Staff met with several residents in the field and reviewed their concerns in detail.

After assessing the concerns from the residents and business owners, staff developed an alternative solution to make the north leg of the city owned parking lot serving Walgreens driveway “exit only”. This would partially or fully meet each of the goals for full closure. The north leg would be narrowed to only accommodate outbound vehicles (shortening the crossing distance for pedestrians) and would be upgraded with accessible ramps to be consistent with a standard street crossing. Both alternatives would move all vehicles destined for the Walgreens parking lot to Lootens Place, which is designed to accommodate trucks and vehicle volumes.

On February 3, 2021, public input for these two alternatives was discussed at the  Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee (BPAC) meeting and received via email to the City’s project contact in early February. Overall, there appeared to be support for the Exit Only approach, in what some BPAC members expressed was a good compromise between all modes of transportation. Currently City Staff plans to proceed with design based on the exit only alternative. We intend to bring this project and the exit only alternative as the recommendation as an Informational Report to Council prior to bidding the project in the Spring. Although this will be the Staff recommendation, the Council is, of course, free to make any changes or even return to the original closure plan should they wish to do so.

For a more detailed description of the alternatives, read the staff report on the Third Street Project for the February 3, 2021 BPAC meeting.

Project Map

Watch a video about the project

Students at the Marin School of Environmental Leadership (SEL), a public school located within Terra Linda High School in the San Rafael City Schools district, created this video to inform the public about the Third Street Rehab project.


Base Mapping & Preliminary DesignWinter 2020 – Summer 2020
Design and EnvironmentalSummer 2020 – Fall 2021
Construction Bidding & AwardFall 2021 – Winter 2021
ConstructionWinter 2021 – Fall 2023

Frequently asked questions

The city has worked with residents along Second Street and the bicycle community to revise the original concept plan to utilize the entire right-of-way and reduce widths to provide parking. There will still be a net loss of 1-4 stalls between West Street and Shaver Street.

No. The Safety Project will narrow vehicle lane widths on Third Street to maintain the existing left turn pocket from westbound Third Street onto southbound Lindaro Street, while still reducing the crossing distance for pedestrians.

The Safety Project will convert the driveway on Third Street to Exit Only southbound to help improve safety for pedestrians and remove the backup from cars turning right into a narrow driveway.

Construction hours and temporary lane closures times are still be accessed. However both day and night work are anticipated.

For the majority of the project, no. However on Second Street between Hayes and Shaver Street there will be a minor change. Today 2nd Street eastbound shifts from 2 lanes to 3 lanes at Hayes Street. The project will move this addition of a 3rd lane one block to the east. Now 2nd Street will gain a 3rd lane at Shaver Street. See “Second Street Lane Adjustment”

Sidewalk replacement is limited to work around intersections and locations where elevations need to be modified to meet one of the project goals. In addition, the city has hired Precision Concrete Cutting has repaired tripping hazards where possible by using a cutting method to create ADA compliant slopes.

The City has chosen to install a separate 5-6 foot wide sidewalk and 8 foot Class IV protected cycle track between Shaver Street and West Street in order to increase the useable area for the public. A Class I multi-use path along a roadway has larger buffer requirements. The City would have to install a larger retaining wall to just create the 10 foot minimum paved area. Within the same available space, the separate facilities provide a 14 to 15 foot useable paved surface for both modes (bicyclists and pedestrians), where the Class I multi-use would only provide 10 to 11.5 foot paved area. See “Class IV and Class I Comparison

Project contact

April Miller, PE | Assistant Public Works Director/City Engineer


Shawn Graf, EIT, LSIT | Assistant Engineer


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