news Railroad Grade Entrance Upgrade

A new bridge railing makes a much safer way to transition to one of Marin’s most popular trails.  It’s genesis comes from a ride gone bad…

Following a sudden slide off a slick wooden bridge surface 15 months ago, Mill Valley resident and UC-Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg’s mountain bike ride up Old Railroad Grade ended almost before it started. As he and a riding partner headed over the wooden footbridge off West Blithedale Avenue at the entrance to the trail on a damp winter morning, Goldberg careened off the side of the bridge and landed about 10 feet down onto a drainage pipe, only the waterpack on his back breaking his fall.

Although Goldberg avoided any injury or broken bones, “It was pretty traumatic – I was shaken up,” he said. “It just seemed like a safety hazard not to have rails on the sides of the bridge.”

Goldberg reached out to City Councilmember Jessica Sloan, who put him in touch with City of Mill Valley Department of Public Works staff. Theyt contacted staff at Marin County Parks, which bought the land encompassing that area from the Marin Municipal Water District in the early 1980s. MWWD staffers Mike Swezy and Carl Sanders got involved as well, given their institutional knowledge of the District’s infrastructure.

With regular email check-ins, and strong follow through by Councilmembers Sloan and Stephanie Moulton-Peters, the new railing is now in place. Marin County Parks paid for the materials and MMWD staff installed a railing on either side of the bridge in mid-March.

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