The project will seek to, among other things, reduce the confusion crosswalks and intersections largely driven by the remnants of Mill Valley’s railroad history, officials said.


Fourteen months ago, the Mill Valley City Council signed off on a $2 million overhaul of downtown sewers, sidewalks, storm drains and streets, all with a focus on minimizing the impact on downtown businesses, particularly on parking and access. The project, which had already been delayed in 2019 in response to serious concerns from business owners about the project’s adverse impact on downtown retailers’ critically important fourth quarter sales, again appeared likely to push into the crucial fall and holiday shopping seasons.

Then the pandemic happened, and Mill Valley’s streets. shops, restaurants and, well, just about everything, went quiet, allowing City officials to significantly speed up the project’s timeline, vastly reducing its impact.

But that overhaul was just Phase 1 of the Downtown Project, a multi-year effort that seeks to upgrade infrastructure throughout the downtown area, including roads, sewers, drainage, curb, ramps and more. Now it’s onto Phase 2, which is largely focused on ADA access and safety improvements, primarily in the form of 17 new curb ramps throughout downtown, including on East Blithedale Ave., Throckmorton Ave., Corte Madera Ave. and Sunnyside Ave. to be installed during the summer (indicated by the blue triangles on the map above, with phase 2 curb ramps indicated in orange for 2022). blue). The Downtown Project’s remaining phases of will include additional paving, and pipeline improvements.

Phase 2 of the project currently has a nearly $1.3 million budget shortfall but County officials hope to make up the difference with county, regional and state sources.


​Several of the crosswalk and ADA ramp overhauls will require “bulb outs” that seek to narrow the road and shorten the distance pedestrians have to cover to cross the street. Those will be created at Throckmorton and Madrona (near Bootjack Wood Fired and the Throckmorton Theatre); the intersection that spans East Blithedale, Throckmorton and Buena Vista avenues (near Stefano’s Pizza and the Outdoor Art Club) and the intersection of Throckmorton and Corte Madera avenues (at Mill Valley Market). The latter proposed bulb-out is at right.

Longtime Mill Valley traffic consultant David Parisi noted that the project also calls for removing parking spaces within intersections in places like Throckmorton near Stefano’s and MilVali Salon and outside Mill Valley Market. “A lot of our crosswalks have cars parks right up to the them and have very constrained sightlines for drivers and pedestrians,” Parisi said. The project also calls for painted red curbs in those areas to add clarity, City officials said. 

The project could yield a loss of as many as 10 parking spaces downtown, though City officials hope to gain as many five of those spaces back if they are able to convert Bernard Street (at Vasco restaurant) into a one-way street.
The parking loss, the extension of curb ramps and shortening of crosswalks will create some additional public spaces, City officials said. For example, Mill Valley Market could end up gaining 3-4 feet of sidewalk outside its shop for resources like bike parking and/or additional seating.

Future phases of the Downtown Project, which could involve a reimagining of traffic flow along the block of Throckmorton Ave. between Corte Madera and Miller avenues, as well as a fresh look at the intersection of Sunnyside and Miller avenues – including a possible extension of the Depot Plaza that could encompass the grove of redwood trees that currently require drivers to navigate the odd “wiggle” on inbound Miller Avenue, are “a lot more complicated than what we just talked about,” Parisi said.

Phase 2 of the Downtown Project looks on target to go to the City Council in May and begin construction, according to project manager Ahmed Aly.


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