Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Breaking News at Gateway

For those who feared Starbucks' imminent departure from the nearby Gateway shopping center, it looks like quite the opposite might occur. Starbucks is not only remaining but will have increased presence as the only drive-thru Starbucks in Marin County.

Mark Prado, in a June 27th piece for the Marin Independent Journal, also reports that Starbucks' expansion will displace Burger King, and with BK gone, there's the possibility that a more upscale burger chain could move in. Or that's the plan. It appears that efforts are indeed underway to turn the Gateway shopping center into a destination shopping experience along the lines of the town and village formats one finds in Corte Madera.

Not quite turning the parking lot inside out but certainly creating a more people-centric town square feel, with finer dining options than currently exist. One doesn't even have to be a fan of Starbucks to get behind this news. Now if they would build a bridge.

A large barrier (metaphorically and literally) remains: the dark tunnel under 101, the only way for bicyclists and pedestrians to get into Marin City from Bridgeway. For people walking, the gloomy narrow sidewalk is dirty, closed in, and uninviting. For bicyclists, the passage is even worse – the choice is to illegally crowd on the sidewalk or risk death by a speeding car. The solution: a bike-ped bridge from the Sausalito-Mill Valley multiuse path. 750 pedestrians and 2,330 cyclists use the path daily. That's a large number of potential shoppers who could reinvigorate the Gateway Center. Think the idea is crazy? It's not unprecedented. Just look north. In May, the Marin County Bicycle Coalition celebrated the opening of a bicyclist and pedestrian bridge that connects southern Marin and Larkspur Landing to the Marin Country Mart, another revitalized and thriving shopping center.

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