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Cal Park Tunnel Opens to Great Fanfare in Marin County

Last Friday, hundreds of cyclists and walkers celebrated the long-awaited opening of the Cal Park Tunnel in Marin County, Calif., with some even setting off fireworks to commemorate the occasion. All the work by the County of Marin, Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) and others now pays off with a quick, smooth ride through the hill that separates San Rafael from the ferry terminal in Larkspur and southern Marin County. The shared-use path will share the tunnel with SMART commuter trains when they start running, though the path is walled off from the train in the tunnel and has its own ventilation system. The tunnel features lighting, video monitoring, cell phone reception, a fire suppression system and graffiti-resistant walls.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has advocated for opening both the Cal Park and Alto tunnels in Marin, and work on the Cal Park Tunnel led to the publication of  our Tunnels on Trails study in 2001.

At the opening, speakers touted the shared-use path as the most important aspect of the SMART project, and supervisor Steve Kinsey quipped, "We don't have a high-speed rail, but we do have a high-speed trail... and a low-speed walking trail." You can take a virtual ride through the new tunnel and see it for yourself!

The Cal Park Tunnel joins the recent opening of the Lincoln Hill Path north of San Rafael to complete two new links in the North South Greenway, a non-motorized transportation corridor through Marin County. The Lincoln Hill Path is sandwiched between the SMART train line and Highway 101and allows for an unbroken coast down the hill in an interesting urban canyon of hill cuts and sound walls. If you missed the Cal Park ribbon cutting, the Lincoln Hill Path ribbon cutting will be coming up in January 2011.

Posted Wed, Dec 15 2010 1:45 PM by Steve Schweigerdt (RTC)


Mary Worth wrote re: Cal Park Tunnel Opens to Great Fanfare in Marin County
on Tue, Jan 11 2011 11:27 AM

Bless everyone involved in this project!  Positive news is scarce these days.

Joel Kurtz wrote re: Cal Park Tunnel Opens to Great Fanfare in Marin County
on Tue, Jan 11 2011 1:28 PM

I have long thought that it would be great to re-open the old Oakland - Orinda tunnel on Tunnel road in Oakland. Of course it would need to be connected on the east side with a new bike trail into Orinda, a substantial expense but it would be a great ride.

Ken Harrison wrote re: Cal Park Tunnel Opens to Great Fanfare in Marin County
on Tue, Jan 11 2011 10:41 PM

Mr. Kurtz, I suppose you mean the Sacramento Northern tunnel, which collapsed under a home on the Shepherd Canyon side, and whose east portal was destroyed because of imminent further collapse and water seepage.  I think not! (Poof)

Dave Alberti wrote re: Cal Park Tunnel Opens to Great Fanfare in Marin County
on Sun, Jan 16 2011 9:23 PM

Obviouly Ken you are unaware of the original tunnel through the Oakland/Berkeley hills that was dug in the early 1910's(?). The west portal location can still be found directly above the present Caldicott Tunnel, first called the Broadway Low Level Tunnel) about half way up the hill on Tunnel Road (Gee, I guess that's where that name came from!). The east portal is also located above Contra Costa portal of the Caldicott but on private property and so is not accessable to the public. This tunnel looked more like a mine tunnel then a vehicle tunnel. It was a one way tunnel with a single light every 15 - 20 feet, and according to my Mom who traveled it often very scary for little girls or the faint of heart.

I have never heard of then reopening that tunnel for bike/pedestrian use but in the early 70's there was talk/rumors about opening the SN tunnel. I believe all talk stopped as soon as the words safety and security were used.  


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