Safe Routes to School Project strives to improve transportation safety

Pearl Zhong

In partnership with Safe Routes to School and the city of Larkspur, Redwood plans to widen the pedestrian walkways and bike lanes on Doherty Drive this summer.

Changes will be made on pedestrian walkways and bike lanes that begin at the intersection between Lucky Drive and Doherty Drive at the entrance of Redwood’s back parking lot and continue westbound to the front parking lot by the Little Theater. Additionally, one parking spot in the back lot will be removed in order to clear space for the path. 

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The goal of the Safe Routes to School project is to make safer and easier transit for bicyclists and pedestrians when travelling on Doherty Drive, according to Principal David Sondheim and Larkspur Interim Public Works Director Ray Razavi.

The existing sidewalk on Doherty will be replaced with an 8-foot wide asphalt path, which will be constructed adjacent to the current walkway. A 6-foot fence will be installed to secure the path and replace the current fence. In addition, the street will also be restriped in order to change the width of the bicycle lanes, according to Razavi.

Beginning around the second week of June, construction will continue up until the second week of August, a two month project, according to Razavi.

“We are planning a very tight construction schedule because we want to do this when the school closes and before the school opens,” Razavi said.

The intersection between Lucky and Doherty will also be improved through the construction of an island that will separate the bicyclists from vehicles, according to Razavi.

Although the existing sidewalk currently meets the three-foot minimum standard set by the American Disability Act, the project plans to increase the width to make it even more accessible.

“We are going to go way beyond what the minimum allowable safety standard is for the bicycles, pedestrians, as well as the ramps. The ramps are very important because you will have to be able to take pedestrians on wheelchairs from the sidewalk to the crosswalk,” Razavi said.

Increasing the width of the sidewalk means construction will continue into the fire road behind the Little Theater and the English/Spanish wing of the main building, according to Sondheim.

The money for the project comes from grant money from Transportation Authority of Marin as well as money allocated by the city, according to Sondheim and Razavi. 

Construction will begin at the intersection between Lucky and Doherty Drive.
Construction will begin at the intersection between Lucky and Doherty Drive.

“We have a grant for $350,000 from Transportation Authority of Marin. We are putting in additional money from the city and we currently have $25,000 allocated from the city, so it is a total of $375,000 budget at this moment and we are hoping to stay within that budget,” Razavi said.

For students like junior Aisling Ogilvie, who has been biking to school daily for five years, widening the bike lanes will not only improve safety but also comfort.

“I don’t really like [biking on the road] because it’s so narrow. If I move off a little bit when I’m biking on the road, it’s pretty easy for me to be accidentally hit by a car,” Ogilvie said, “I’m sure if the bike lanes were widened, I will feel much more comfortable when biking.”