In an effort to prepare community members and City first responders for a sudden evacuation order, on Tuesday, January 11th, Mill Valley Police and Public Works staff conducted a vehicle re-routing drill on Miller Avenue. The drill simulated in real-time the steps needed to create an outbound, double-lane traffic flow that would help expedite an evacuation if a wildfire threatened Mill Valley.
On the evening prior to the drill, public safety staff notified local employees with Employee Parking permits to remove their vehicles from the outbound Miller Avenue parking spaces. This is a standard procedure currently in place when the National Weather Service issues a Red Flag Warning.
On Tuesday morning, public safety staff alerted Public Works crew members working throughout the City to immediately respond to the Miller Avenue location to set up the pre-designated Miller Avenue traffic plan. The first crewmember arrived in 5 minutes and accessed the trailer that is pre-staged on Miller Avenue with signs, barricades and other equipment. Additional crewmembers arrived soon after, surveyed the traffic plans, and jumped into action.
In the real-time environment, with live traffic filtering through the emerging new traffic pattern, Public Works team members were able to complete the traffic re-routing plan in approximately 25 minutes.
“We want to thank all the Public Works staff for their quick action and coordination,” Police Captain Lindsay Haynes said. “We also want to thank the motorists involved in the drill for their patience as we practiced setting up the traffic flow. It is activities such as these that really help us to be better prepared.”
The Miller Avenue evacuation traffic plan was created in response to concerns about traffic bottlenecks during potential evacuation events. The plan includes extending two lanes of outbound traffic starting just past the Mill Valley Lumber Yard at Millwood, linking to the two existing lanes that begin at Tamalpais Paint store. Public safety personnel anticipate that extending these two traffic lanes in the outbound direction will allow additional vehicles to move quickly when evacuating from the E. Blithedale and Cascade canyons.
Additional vehicle routing drills will take place in the upcoming months on E. Blithedale Avenue as well as Hamilton Drive.
Remember, during an actual emergency evacuation:
Take 1 vehicle per household
Follow instructions from emergency alerts
Check on any vulnerable neighbors
Be prepared for heavy traffic
For further information on evacuation preparedness please visit:
City of Mill Valley Emergency Preparedness Info Page
To sign-up for emergency notifications please visit: Alert Marin