Tam Valley Traffic
by Brenda Grantland
Traffic is a major problem for Tamalpais
Valley. Tam Valley is a gateway community to Muir Woods, Muir Beach,
Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Mt. Tamalpais parks, hiking and biking trails,
and all of West Marin. All of this traffic has to funnel through
narrow winding mountain roads along Route 1.
The spectacular Route 1 corridor --
a tourist destination in itself -- is a two-lane road, around narrow
mountain ledges, often with a sheer cliff above on one side and
a steep drop to the ocean on the other. You can't drive over 30,
and speeding is not an option because of the traffic in front of
you. Occasionally there are pullouts to let the slower traffic pull
over and let others pass, but usually the slower drivers are spellbound
tourists, oblivious to the pull offs. Sometimes they stop dead in
their tracks to admire the scenery and even take pictures, while
traffic piles up behind them. As a result, traffic can't move
any faster than the slowest car, until the slowest car finally pulls
over and lets everybody pass. And then there's the next slowest
car in front of you. And, even if you manage to pass all the cars
in front of you and get to drive maybe 40 m.p.h. for a minute, you
catch up with the traffic going 25 or less again.
We also have to share the narrow roads
Route 1 -- and most of Tam Valley
for that matter -- is a fabulous place for mountain biking.
The road signs say "Share the Road" and what that means is, when
you drive your car around the next blind corner, expect to see a
mountain biker in your lane. But that's only a problem on the uphill
stretches. On the downhill stretches, the mountain bikers will outrun
This is all for the good. This is
some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and we all need
to slow down and enjoy the drive. Otherwise, why be here?
Still, there are limits. Sometimes
developers' plans or business relocations add exponentially to the
traffic. When the major routes into and out of a community are all
two-laned roads, additional traffic quickly becomes a problem.
The solution is not to turn Route
1 into a four or six lane turnpike (and fortunately, that would
be impossible because of the terrain.) Instead we all have to be
vigilant about policing proposed changes in our community that would
drastically increase traffic traveling through here, and cars parking
As much as we may be made to feel
like NIMBYs when we complain about changes to our community, it's
our right and duty as citizens and neighbors to preserve the way
of life we moved here for in the first place. Otherwise, we might
as well move to a real suburb.