County mulls Muir Woods road options

04/20/2017

Plans to restore a 2.4-mile section of Muir Woods Road have taken another step forward following a meeting this week hosted by the Marin County Department of Public Works. Department staff presented five project alternatives for addressing the winding stretch, which runs between the Muir Woods National Monument and Highway 1 and is plagued by shoulder deterioration and erosion. Several options under consideration by the department call for widening the roughly 18-foot-wide road, a couple of options would add bike lanes and one would turn the stretch into a one-way road. The first alternative would widen it to 22 feet, with two six-foot shoulders, and the second would widen it to 24 feet, with one-foot shoulders on each side. The third alternative would narrow the road to a consistent 18 feet. The fourth option caters to bicyclists; it would add a dedicated bike lane, while also widening the road. And the final, perhaps more radical, alternative would convert the section from a two-lane road to a one-lane, one-way road. An existing lane would become a dedicated bike lane and traffic would flow westbound only. Eastbound traffic would have to use Highway 1 or Panoramic Highway. “That would be terrible news for us,” said Muir Woods resident Paul Jeschke, citing locals’ already exhausting maneuvering between busloads of tourists. Victoria Hamilton-Rivers, vice president of the Muir Beach Community Services District, said the road has become the only way in and out of town since the closure of Highway 1 this winter due to erosion and mudslides. And the one-road access has put a lot of stress on the community. “It’s been extremely challenging as a resident of Muir Beach,” she said. “Because of the road’s deterioration, but also the parking set-up. People park on the side of the road and get out to walk miles through the monument. It makes life very complicated getting out of Muir Beach. The community at large is really fed up with it.” Muir Woods is one of the most popular parks in the state and has a reputation for reaching tourism capacity by mid-morning. The park has roughly a million visitors a year and some summer days can draw up to 5,000 people.