Lower the Speed Limit on 4th Street?

Marin bicycling and pedestrian advocates are calling on San Rafael to slow traffic on the city’s main drag.   The speed limit is 25 mph on Fourth Street. Proponents said slowing motorists to 20 mph would greatly improve safety.

The effort is being led by Walk/Bike San Rafael, a branch of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. Supporters called on the City Council to make the change using Assembly Bill 43.

The law also gives local governments the ability to set permanent speed limits of 20 or 25 mph near business centers such as downtown corridors.

Matthew Hartzell, transportation planner for WTB-TAM, a Marin pedestrian and bike advocacy group, also supports the plan. He said crash data in the Transportation Injury Mapping System, a project by University of California at Berkeley, shows that between 2011 and 2022 there were 112 crashes in which a cyclist or pedestrian was the victim on Fourth Street between Second and Union streets.

“Fourth Street is really San Rafael’s Main Street,” Hartzell said. “The more people we have walking and biking here, the better it will be for the city.”

April Miller, the city’s public works director, said officials are making a few moves to see where AB 43 could apply in San Rafael.

Miller also said she is reconvening the city’s traffic committee, an advisory group of city staff. The committee will be asked to draft a presentation on AB 43 for the city’s bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee. The presentation is expected to be reported at a public meeting in October, Miller said.