There aren’t many instances where adding a lane to a congested highway can happen quickly, easily and inexpensively. Just such an opportunity exists on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge connecting Marin and Contra Costa Counties and the Bay Area Council is working with local, regional and state officials to get it done. East bound traffic on the span is the bane of thousands of evening commuters who are forced to squeeze into two lanes from several approaches, adding to existing backups on Highways 101 and 580 and clogging local streets. The slowdown also generates tens of thousands of pounds of avoidable greenhouse gas emissions from idling vehicles. Except that the bridge is capable of carrying three lanes. One lane was long ago set aside for emergencies and maintenance.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has a plan to reopen the third lane, but it’s tied to a larger project that isn’t scheduled to begin until at least 2017. That’s too long. Working with Assemblymember Marc Levine, Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey, the Transportation Authority of Marin and the North Bay Leadership Group, the Council is pushing to get started now on reopening the third lane. Levine this week introduced legislation (AB157) that would further speed the project by allowing design and environmental review work to happen concurrently. The Council is convening a public meeting on Monday Feb. 9 to provide details on the project and hear community input. We encourage to you attend and lend your support. The meeting begins at 6:00pm at the Marin Sanitary Environmental Center at 535 Jacoby Street, San Rafael. For more information, please contact Policy Associate Emily Loper.

Read Emily Loper’s OpEd in the Marin IJ>>

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