San Rafael opens Grand Avenue bicycle-pedestrian bridge

After a decade of planning, a key bicycle-and-pedestrian bridge linking the Canal area to downtown San Rafael is open.

Residents joined city officials Thursday to celebrate the finished $3.47 million Grand Avenue bridge project in Central San Rafael adjacent to the Montecito Plaza Shopping Center.

“What an accomplishment by everybody that’s been involved,” Mayor Gary Phillips said at the event, adding that “the Grand Avenue bridge project fills a significant bike-ped gap.”

Phillips said street connections between the Canal neighborhood and the rest of the city are limited because of the San Rafael Canal creating a physical divide. The bridge provides bicyclists and pedestrians from the Canal neighborhood with access to downtown, the transit center, the Montecito shopping center and San Rafael High School.

The project included the installation of a 12-foot wide multi-use bridge immediately east of the Grand Avenue vehicular bridge that spans the Canal. It included a widened sidewalk at the intersection of Second Street and Grand Avenue. New sidewalk ramps, lighting, fencing and the replacement of the barrier rails on the vehicular bridge were also part of the project.

Transportation planners said the connection is part of the San Francisco Bay Trail Project, an effort by the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to create a seamless 500-mile trail around the bay. The Bay Trail contributed a $100,000 grant to get the project done.

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