Mid-Week Links: Spin Cycle

Marin has one of the best recreational cycling cultures in the country and a burgeoning commuter cycling culture, but everyday travel is typically done by car – you can blame our beautiful and formidable geography for that. Cycling For Everyone from Dutch Cycling Embassy gives a vision of how Marin could look if we embraced the bike in Terra Linda as much as we do on Mount Tam.  The Pacific Sun has an excellent rundown on the political debate so far, from the Capitol to the Alto Tunnel.

The Greater Marin

It’s so easy to focus on Marin and its foibles that sometimes we forget that other places are doing awesome things.  Take Norfolk, VA, an active but small city of 242,000 people and one light rail that goes by the name of The Tide.  The Tide is brand-spanking new and underwent the same issues SMART is dealing with today: cost overruns, plans cut short, and political opposition.  After surviving that gauntlet, The Tide opened to great fanfare this past August.  One month in, the Richmond Times-Dispatch examined how the city feels about it now.  In a word, they’re proud.

Marin County

  • Of course, if RepealSMART gets its way, SMART will just be a failed dream.  The anti-rail organization started gathering signatures for its repeal measure this week.
  • In good news, MTC approved its $33.1 million SMART bailout (PDF) and recommended to the Federal Department of Transportation that it receive another $18 million (PDF) in federal funding for the accompanying bike/pedestrian path.
  • The IJ has profiles on Town Council candidates for Corte Madera and San Anselmo, and Patch will host a candidate debate for San Anselmo on October 5.
  • Tensions in Sausalito came to light when Councilmember Carolyn Ford filed battery charges against Vice-Mayor Mike Kelly for hitting her hand (rather hard) during a council meeting.  Video at the link.  Kelly has since apologized, but no word on whether the charges will be dropped.
  • The empty seat left by Joan Lundstrom’s retirement from the Larkspur City Council must be filled, either by a special election after the current election is over or by an appointment.
  • Speaking of Larkspur, Piper Park is due for a makeover.
  • San Rafael’s Design Review Board approved the Fenix Live music venue for the heart of Fourth Street.  You can hear the Board’s deliberations here.
  • Novato wants to sprawl, and, as much as it hates density, it loves its sprawl.  Planners just approved a 3-unit-per-acre subdivision.  Larkspur isn’t much better after the sale of a pre-approved 5-unit-per-acre development. That one is just one block from downtown in a prime walkable development location.  You can check out a possible site plan for Larkspur here (PDF, p. 13), although it may not be accurate because of the change in ownership.
  • Ever wondered what the deal is with that empty commercial building at 520 Red Hill Avenue?  Now you can find out.

The Golden Gate

Golden Gate issues deserve their own section this week because the sheer number of news items cries for special attention.  It cries, we answer.

  • Golden Gate Transit will install WiFi on all its buses, making it an even more attractive transit service.  Cost is cheap, too: only $610,000 for the final cost.  Take that, BART.
  • Marin Transit wants to reopen their $15 million/year contract with Golden Gate Transit to provide local bus service in Marin.  Marin Transit argues that GGT is overcharging by about 23%, while GGT argues the extra cost is due to regularly scheduled overtime.  Sounds like GGT has a staffing problem.
  • The Golden Gate National Recreation Area will be reconfigured under a preliminary general management plan with the aim of “connecting people with parks.”
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About David Edmondson
A native Marinite working in Washington, DC, I am fascinated by how one might apply smart-growth and urbanist thinking to the low-density towns of my home.

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