Cal Park Hill Tunnel
Marin County's Brightest Addition to the Bicycle Network
After 12 years of working to have this incredible facility built and opened, the Cal Park Hill Tunnel finally became a reality on December 10th, 2010. MCBC worked since its inception in 1998 to open the tunnel by collaborating with public agencies. Other local citizens, such as Jean Starkweather, had been laying the groundwork for an eventual re-opening of the tunnel for some 20 years prior. The tunnel is now open seven days a week from 5am until midnight. The total length of the pathway is just over a mile; the tunnel itself is a short 1,100 feet. Riding between San Rafael and Larkspur now takes 15 minutes less if you use the tunnel route instead of continuing to the end of Anderson Drive and continuing down Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, and it will be faster to ride a bike between the two destinations than to drive in rush hour traffic.
The Cal Park Tunnel was originally constructed in 1884 with significant renovations taking place in the mid-portion of last century. Originally designed to haul lumber and freight, and then later passengers, it was sealed shut in 1978 after a series of fires and structural collapses. Today it carries bicyclists and pedestrians between Larkspur and San Rafael. It is a key component in the North-South Greenway and is also part of the future SMART corridor with a planned station just behind the Larkspur Century Theater. Bicyclists and pedestrians are completely separated from the future train by a tunnel within a tunnel, and the tunnel includes cell phone access, security cameras, and emergency access points. The tunnel can be accessed via a pathway on the southbound lane of Anderson Drive in San Rafael, just across from the Office Depot, and just behind the Larkspur Century Theater in Larkspur (very close to the Marin Airporter). Click here to get directions to the tunnel entrances.
December 10th 2010 marked a historic day in Marin County when the Cal Park Hill Tunnel was officially opened to a cheering crowd of several hundred cyclists and walkers. After the opening ceremony, which included speeches from elected officials, MCBC’s Deb Hubsmith, the Marin County Department of Public Works, and Caltrans, hundreds of walkers, and then cyclists took their chance to walk or ride through the tunnel - last used by freight trains in the 1970's.
MCBC thanks the following agencies for their work to help make this historic and keystone project possible: the County of Marin, SMART, the Transportation Authority of Marin, Caltrans, the City of San Rafael, the City of Larkspur, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, MTC and the untold thousands of supporters of MCBC over the years.
MCBC reminds you to Share the Tunnel and Pathway
While you're riding this incredible new facility, please be sure to keep the following in mind:
- The pathway inside the tunnel is a little narrow; please pass pedestrians and other bicyclists with care.
- Be sure to call out "on your left" or ring your bell when passing.
- Please be sure to use a light at night so that other bicyclists and pedestrians can see you along the pathway.
More information and history on this landmark project can be found here.
View media coverage of the opening here.
Or take one of these video tours of the tunnel opening and virtual tours:
Coverage of the opening on StreetFilms:
footage of the ride inside, plus good interviews with MCBC and public officials
A video of the opening day highlights and ride through the tunnel
A pre-opening ride along the complete path and through the tunnel