Anyone trying to navigate downtown Larkspur can see the first stage of Doherty Drive's facelift is finally underway, and the clapper rails don't seem to mind.
The City of Larkspur started work improvement project Tuesday at the intersection of Doherty and Magnolia Avenue, so it shouldn't disturb the clapper rail, according to Public Works Director Hamid Shamsapour. The project started as workers ripped up the sidewalk on Doherty Drive in front of the shopping center.
The clapper rail is a protected bird which is nesting in the marsh area near the Doherty Bridge. The nesting season forced city engineers to delay the improvement project from the start of summer. The construction will move toward the waterways and the Redwood High School campus by September 1, if it stays on schedule. The clapper rail's nesting season should be over by then.
The project includes constructing a paved multi-use pathway over an existing pedestrian route within the Doherty Drive right-of-way between Riviera Circle and Magnolia Avenue. A portion of Doherty Drive between Riviera Circle and Doherty Bridge will be reconstructed with curb ramps and drainage improvements.
The Doherty Bridge will essentially be replaced. The current bridge has been described by city staff and residents as near to falling apart. Doherty Drive has been criticized in the past by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission as one the worst-maintained roads in the area. That made this project a priority for city officials.
Ghilotti Construction Company, Inc., the lowest responsive bidder for this project, submitted a Base Bid of $1,725,733.30.
Doherty Drive is a major artery for Larkspur, not only as a connection to the downtown business district, but also as a connector to Hall Middle School, Redwood High School, Piper Park, the Twin Cities Police Department and residential neighborhoods.
The parking lots at Redwood High School are expected to remain open during construction, but portions of Doherty around Piper Park will be closed, forcing faculty, students and their parents to change their route slightly.
"I'm hoping people will take this chance to make some life-long health changes," Shamsapour said. "This is a good opportunity for people to get out of their cars."
Shamsapour would like to see more people on the bicycles.
"I'm building a lot of new bike paths right now," he said with a laugh.
Doherty Drive is also seeing development on the former Niven Nursery. Redubbed the Rose Garden Project, the property is being developed by the New Home Company for a housing community. A portion of the property is also due to be donated to the City of Larkspur for development of a community facility.
Shamsapour addressed the Larkspur City Council on Wednesday, August 1 to update members on the Doherty Drive construction and also to discuss plans for the improvement or replacement of the Alexander Street and Bon Air bridges. Shamsapour says the Alexander Street Bridge is the next major project on his to-do list. The Bon Air Bridge is a more difficult project given its location over the Corte Madera Creek and the need for a thorough environmental impact report.