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Planning for Reality

High density housing, the urbanization of Marin and transit oriented development need a dose of reality to overcome dogma and utopian dreams. This blog delivers the required dosage. Flag as Inappropriate

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Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors. What's on your mind? What's on your mind? Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell something
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Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr February 15, 2014 at 05:49 pm
THIS is why SMART is smart. Check the CSX television advertisement. They haul freight cars at oneRead More gallon of fuel per car per 100 miles. The SMART cars will haul about 40 people for half of the pollution of one person in a car.
Concerned Citizen February 16, 2014 at 08:03 am
Not sure I understand the comparison. It seems to indicate that mass transit works when the massesRead More use it. The trade-off is he 20 hours out of 24 when they run under-used. That needs to be factored with "rush hours" and then we can better equate whether this makes any sense. I find it alarming that the only way this does work is packing high density housing along transit corridors hat in many cases do no even exist. This part of the equation seems flawed and corrupted to serve another purpose. Sort of a wolf in sheep's clothes. Feeder lines, carpools, appropriate size car parks to handle use seem to be more attractive yet totally ignored by the advocacy for stack and pack housing. I believe given the opportunity of real mass transit many would prefer to use but as seen elsewhere not as the cost of individual freedom and needs.
Assembly Bill 1537 - a wolf in sheep's clothing?
Tina McMillan February 7, 2014 at 09:42 am
So a bill to simplify density issues in three areas of Marin, Novato, San Rafael and the County, isRead More a fraud. Perhaps what we have is still the better option because provides the means to reduce base density through Affordable Housing Overlays, EIR's specific to each site designated for 20% AH and the effort of the cities and county at the front end to show projects with fewer units are fiscally sound. If Novato can succeed under the current rules then San Rafael and the County have the same ability to spend the extra staff time vetting their housing sites. Levine knows nothing of these issues. Unlike Novato residents that participated in the Housing Element and got a lesson in civics and land use planning, Levine is just a front man for the Supervisors. It's time to gut the bill, rewrite it, and keep it simple.
Does TAM have something to hide?
Eleanor Sluis February 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm
Tina- yes- it is all related- like minestrone soup and all connected to the transportation authorityRead More threats to not release funds unless the city complies to its directions. No state authority came to Novato and made the threats. It was from the city council and staff attributing the threats to the transportation agency. So, Partridge Knolls, Atherton Acres, and Landing Court/ Clauson Court lost out because they needed more time to mitigate land use. No, seven years was not enough time unless you are a married man and have the seven year itch and love Marilyn Monroe. But in reality, more than 8000 residents ( need info.) in those areas are concerned about building of high densities and increased expenses for their families to pay for increased taxes for maintenance and traffic and exploding populations in schools. Yet, they were summarily dismissed as not important enough to be heard. You betcha; it’s all connected. Transportation Authority is threatening Novato again in a heavy handed way. It’s the threats that are worrisome on the one hand, and on the other hand it’s the process of combining all low-income area residents of Novato with the Canal area and Marin City into a small committee to decide transportation needs, while leaving out those who pay the bill with our taxes. This is segregating our neighborhoods into the haves and have nots and is not the best social engineering plan that the transportation authority proposes. The Canal area and Marin city will be able to out vote Novato as to need assessments. It seems that transportation authorities now out vote Novato’s one vote for input and improvements as does ABAG. Creating a climate of working towards a better community in all of Marin involves more cooperation between city councils and the county. This is not happening.
Tina McMillan February 7, 2014 at 03:42 pm
Eleanor: There are no threats. Just a need for the council to acknowledge that too little is knownRead More about CBTP and that by design it takes away local control. Since there are no guarantees that Novato will get the money it wants for the projects it needs, it isn't worth the risk. If you read the PDF of the accounting practices it is a "Fiscal Net Negative" Bob Ratto read the accounting practices. I got through the first four pages when I realized it was a way for government to overthink and make overly complex a process that doesn't need TAM or any outside agency to be involved. It would cost far less if the state gave the money to the cities throughout California and said this is a contribution toward your top five urgent land use/transportation projects. I am sure staff knows what is most broken and in need of fixing. Instead TAM, which was rejected by the city of San Rafael, is coming to Novato, at the last possible minute, to try and get themselves a new city on the hook to justify their existence. TAM is run through a JPA agreement. That means you go to their website and you can't tell who funds the agencies salaries. JPA's are typically regional. Even though we have city council members on the TAM board, we don't have to accept money with strings, such as labels like Low Income Community.
Reginald "Rex" Henderson February 13, 2014 at 12:29 am
Jeezuz, Eleanor - how about the abbreviated version next time?!
True solutions
Roger February 3, 2014 at 06:10 pm
Richard: The IJ's cover story today on SB-1 quoted you from your Patch blog. Keep up the good workRead More of alerting long-term residents to the pending dense housing threats.
Richard Hall February 3, 2014 at 07:13 pm
Thanks - very much appreciate this. Read that definition of blight and consider if it could beRead More applied to your neighborhood.
If representation is failing, DO NOT question supervisors' motivations
Richard Hall January 29, 2014 at 01:10 pm
@Roger: I would like to think that by now most Marin politicians recognize the trouble they getRead More themselves into when they volunteer neighborhoods without verifying support to be PDAs. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Indeed PDA grants are proving a powerful magnet to TAM and to cities and counties as a funding source. I can never say this enough - the influence of this funding cannot be underestimated. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In Civic Center, despite rescinding the PDA and turning away money, money is still flowing - from other sources - to pay for planned bike and ped improvements including a roundabout. I believe county money is being used to the tune of $2m. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I would be very cautious of TAM's involvement and demand transparency in all meetings and oversight meetings. (All captured on Granicus). If any committee is formed ensure directly affected residents have fair representation.
Eleanor Sluis January 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm
Why now? Novato appears to be ready to accept $ 3-4 $$$,$$$ million dollars of transportation fundsRead More for a new bus hub on Redwood Blvd. The transportation authority of Marin already spent $300,000 $$$ dollars in design and now wants the design review, planning commission, and city council to approve the building without any crosswalk improvements because the authority does not do crosswalks in this case. Instead, I think these 3-4 millions of dollars could be used for much needed Novato road improvement plus a better crosswalk at Redwood to Peet’s. Road surfacing is one of Novato's priorities. not an expensive bus hub. Furthermore, tax payers’ dollars in this case is not a grant and very little is known about it by the public. it is dispersed by the governmental, non-elected body of the transportation authority, much like ABAG and its arbitrary decisions. What is needed is to find out who is in charge. Is only one person/boss in the TAM agency making the decisions? Why is so much money $3-4 $$$,$$$ million going to be spent without going to Novato and finding alternatives, unless our council already has agreed to using the money for an expanded bus hub and is not willing to look at other uses for this funding? Again, spending tax dollars of $3-4 $$$,$$$ million for a bus hub is questionable when the city needs road repair as a priority . A 3-4 million dollar bus hub to my knowledge was never mentioned in the last five-ten years-why now? These 3-4 million funds are not attached to housing because they are not a grant for Novato. Yet, if it was a grant then the money is tied to housing. For example, the $800,000 $$$ dollars of transportation funds from a grant to improve pedestrian access over a bridge was to be lost if the city did not get the Housing element in on time according to the council and city staff. Questioning motivation is so important. Thank you, Richard Hall.
Bob Ratto January 31, 2014 at 02:14 pm
These 3-4 million funds are not attached to housing because they are not a grant for Novato.Read More Eleanor, care to make a wager on that?
Demanding Accountability: TAM
craig thomas January 26, 2014 at 12:38 pm
What date did you apply your requests to TAM? With today's need of employment, why does TAM placeRead More favoritism to retired San Rafael employees for positions at TAM? So many qualified people unemployed yet their these positions are not extended to general public with many years before they can retire.
Richard Hall January 27, 2014 at 06:47 am
January 23rd.
Demanding Accountability: TAM
Tina McMillan January 24, 2014 at 10:04 am
Richard: Whether you line your birdcage or line our laptop screens, as long as you keep writingRead More about Plan Bay Area and how the puzzle pieces fit together, we all benefit!
The Story of How Marin Was Ruined (Video)
Richard Hall January 15, 2014 at 09:24 pm
@Judd: Sorry, but the GG Transit database contradicts that bus ridership is up:Read More http://goldengate.org/news/transit/trends_traffic-transit.php -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- See table "Golden Gate Transit Bus Ridership": FY 11-12: 6,672,875 riders FY 12-13: 6,627,935 riders So bus ridership actually dropped last financial year. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Looking at the current financial year (June - June) year to date up to December ridership is down 2.5% -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm getting my data directly from the source - is that cherry picking?
sal nero January 16, 2014 at 06:32 am
Richard- don't waste your time with Judd. He is one of the main online proponents of the GratonRead More Casino and development in Sonoma. He has taken over the top positions and name called in defense of the Casino's chief lobbyist Darius Anderson, who also owns the Press Domocrat and Sonoma Index-Tribune. He defends development whether it was the Casino or kicking out Sonoma Developmental Center Patients so that Anderson and the Graton Miwoks can get a foothold in Sonoma Valley. Since Measure B lost in Sonoma and big hotels are coming to the Plaza it's game over. Judd likes this. He is cool with gridlock apparently.
Richard Hall January 16, 2014 at 06:50 am
@Sal: Thanks for the tip off.
David Kunhardt January 13, 2014 at 07:22 pm
Let's be ostriches, not planners! We hate traffic, so let's fight the SMART train... We love ourRead More open space, so let's fight to support sprawl.... Oh, wait, maybe there are are a few ironic inconsistencies in this over-simple cartoon. The very simplification reveals the unraveling of logic, so perhaps the conversation can take a better turn in the New Year.
Richard Hall January 13, 2014 at 09:17 pm
Freeway current capacity 330,000 people (197,000 cars/day) Caltrans figures. SMART train maxRead More capacity 3,000. SMART is a rounding error. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- POPULATION: Only if you believe in ABAG's over-bloated population projections; numbers conceived with special interests to help justify extensive development, would you be able to suggest that sprawl at all is needed here in Marin or building of the significance of that proposed in Larkspur - 920 units (x2.6 residents per unit). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For my part I continue to trust in the State Department of Finance who were again proved right with their modest, slow growth population predictions: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- http://www.marinij.com/novato/ci_24836065/marin-bay-area-population-up-economy-may-be -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If I may quote: "The county grew by 1,896 people between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, according to a new report from the state Department of Finance. That increased Marin's population by .75 percent, bringing the total number of residents to 255,887."
Richard Hall January 13, 2014 at 09:25 pm
But by far the worst thing about SMART is that rather than being used to cost-effectively alleviateRead More 101 traffic (sadly the $1.6bn cost is anything but a rounding error) it is causing Station Area Plans to pop up all across Marin where goal #1 instead of improving the quality of life for existing residents is "promote transit ridership". It is being used to justify extensive development. Pray tell, where will all these new Larkspur residents be commuting to on a) the train that goes to the north or b) the ferry that is already approaching capacity and which has environmental restrictions preventing expanding capacity. NO - all those new residents will be going on 101.
Don't blink, Senate Bill 1 is coming
Richard Hall January 7, 2014 at 04:34 pm
Also consider the new impact analysis rules now being put into place with SB 743 (another SteinbergRead More monstrosity!). Until now new development in California had to consider impact on traffic level of service (LoS) - meaning the delays imposed on vehicles at intersections. This is about to be thrown out of the window by new "multimodal" rules if you are in an SB 743 designated "transit priority zone". This will exclusively focus on delays to transit, bike and ped - but not cars! http://tinyurl.com/opr-los -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Extract from the State Office of Planning & Research document: “automobile delay, as described solely by level of service or similar measures of vehicular capacity or traffic congestion shall not be considered a significant impact on the environment pursuant to this division, except in locations specifically identified in the guidelines, if any.”
lotsahelp January 7, 2014 at 05:15 pm
It is bad enough that Kelo v New London gave such power to eminent domain already. But the items youRead More listed above take way too much away from the citizens control.
Stephen Nestel January 7, 2014 at 10:05 pm
Thanks for posting, Richard. We need to alert citizens everywhere in the state and get them toRead More pressure the Governor. You can follow what is going on in my community through www.savemarinwood.org
Don't blink, Senate Bill 1 is coming
Stephen Nestel January 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm
We are all in the same boat in California with these crazy urbanization schemes. It is dangerous toRead More all of us. In Marin, you can follow what is happening in my community www.savemarinwood.org
Don't blink, Senate Bill 1 is coming
Stephen Nestel January 7, 2014 at 04:04 pm
This is scary legislation. If it passes, property ownership will merely mean we have the right toRead More pay taxes. Our founders would be shocked to see what has happened to our democracy. Don't let this SB-1 pass. My apologies to the King.
Don't blink, Senate Bill 1 is coming
Stephen Nestel January 7, 2014 at 03:55 pm
What will the Senate do next? Take our first born children for the King? The absolute power ofRead More these power hungry politicians and bureaucrats is dangerous to democracy.
Don't blink, Senate Bill 1 is coming
Stephen Nestel January 7, 2014 at 03:58 pm
This is the most important piece of eminent domain legislation to hit the governors desk in ourRead More lifetime. We cannot let them take our property rights and right to govern our communities away.
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