Mid-Week Links: Reclamation

Fairfax Festival  MichaelOlsen/ZorkMagazine

People enjoying closed streets at the Fairfax Festival. Photo by MichaelOlsen/ZorkMagazine

Marin County

  • Fairfax is hashing out how to implement Streets for People, its own version of San Francisco’s incredibly successful Sunday Streets program. The town would close Bolinas for part of the day, opening it up to anyone on foot, bike, or other human-powered conveyance. (Patch)
  • New blood on the Ross Valley Sanitary District board promises a management and policy shift. New member Mary Sylla is opposed to new bonds and rate hikes intended to speed the district’s century-long pipe replacement cycle. Marcia Johnson, who lost her re-election bid, was a supporter. (IJ)
  • Tonight, chat with Blithedale Terrace developer Phil Richardson about his proposed 20-unit condo development in lower Mill Valley7pm, The Forest Room of the Mill Valley Community Center. (Patch)
  • A new sidewalk is under construction in Homestead Valley’s Evergreen Avenue under the county’s Safe Routes to School program. People still don’t like the plan, saying it undermines the community’s semi-rural character. There may be an injunction filed to stop the project, which is designed make the route to school safer. (IJ, @mikesonn, Mill Valley Herald)
  • A new Santa Venetia subdivision will not go forward as planned, at least not yet. County Supervisors rejected the 14-unit sprawl project pending a few more months of study. Unfortunately, the area is zoned for 15 units on one-acre plots, so it’s unlikely the project can be stopped entirely. (IJ)
  • Ever wondered how much your town’s Director of Public Works was paid? Bay Area News Group has created a searchable database of all public employee salaries in the Bay Area, so you can know at last. (IJ)
  • Ross faces dramatic cuts now that the town declined to pass the $642,000 public safety tax. Two police officers, a firefighter, and a firefighting apprenticeship program are all on the chopping block. The town will cut other areas to keep the damage minimal. (Ross Valley Reporter)
  • The draft Civic Center Station Area Plan has been released to the public and to the Board of Supervisors, who are reviewing the draft now. The plan creates more housing, rezones parts of the auto-oriented neighborhood, and creates a better pedestrian circulation pattern through the area. (Pacific Sun)
  • And…: A yard that has encroached on open space for more than 20 years will finally be returned to San Rafael, though the owners have a history of ignoring officialdom on the subject, so who knows? (IJ) … In a picture of sweetness and light, a Corte Madera father and daughter spent the whole school year biking in tandem to kindergarten. (Twin Cities Times) … Brad Breithaupt goes deeper into the voting numbers from last Tuesday’s election. (IJ)

The Greater Marin

  • A comprehensive report on San Francisco’s multifaceted and crowded transit system has been released. The 103-year-old report details the pre-Muni world of streetcars and rails in the aftermath of the earthquake and fire. Among the recommendations? Getting rid of horse-drawn cars. (Muni Diaries)
  • Apple will stop using Google Maps on its iPhones, and it won’t include transit directions. You may have to go back to using that 511.org app… (Streetsblog)
  • It turns out Muni has been neglecting maintenance for years as the agency has sacrificed long-term financial stability for short-term savings. Be glad you have GGT managing your fleet, Marin. (SF Weekly)
  • A bill to create a statewide ceiling on parking requirements around transit has shown signs of life in the state Senate. AB 904 would force localities to require no more than one parking space per housing unit, 1,000 square feet of retail, or other measures. (Around the Capitol via @MarketUrbanism and @mottsmith)
  • If you want to encourage transit ridership, the best way is to price driving. While expanding a rail network by 10% nets a 3% gain in ridership, effective car regulations (like congestion pricing) nets a 10-20% increase in ridership and a commensurate decrease in driving. (Atlantic Cities)
  • And…: Santa Rosa mulls electing its councilmembers by district rather than at-large. (Press-Democrat) … The small-government aspects of smart growth appeal to at least some conservatives. (Next American City) … Frank Lloyd Wright hated cities. (Atlantic Cities)

Got a tip? Tweet @theGreaterMarin, email thegreatermarin [at] gmail.com, or post something on Facebook.

Mid-Week Links

Could you imagine something like this at Marin’s transit centers? With GGT’s long, long headways, it would make sense to have screens in local shops as well as more detailed information screens at the stops themselves, perhaps with an interactive map of the routes. Chicago’s Bus Tracker: Taking the Guesswork Out of Waiting for the Bus from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Marin

This week, SMART went totally braindead and decided to play the villain.  The district, in defiance of the Secretary of State, passed an election ordinance requiring that RepealSMART include an unbiased statement with the repeal effort’s signature petition, the first step to getting its initiative on the ballot.  RepealSMART has chosen to ignore the directive.  In other news:

  • The County Board of Supervisors passed a fairly gentle plan to ease some of the barriers to affordable housing.  Brad Breithaupt thinks it’s going to be yet another target for anti-development rage.
  • Residents in Larkspur want to build a farm where the already-approved New Home Co. housing development is scheduled to be built.  They have little chance of success.
  • Another week, another total road closure: a flaming tractor-trailer crash closed southbound Highway 101, closing all southbound lanes for over two hours.  A shame there wasn’t some sort of rail-based mass transit alternative…
  • IJ endorsements are in for the Ross Valley School Board, College of Marin Board, Novato School Board, Reed School Board, and Mill Valley School Board.
  • Consolidation of emergency services in the Ross Valley continues, with Ross beginning to consider integrating its fire department with one of its neighbors.
  • Children and parents got outside and got some exercise this past week in Mill Valley, participating in International Walk (and Roll) to School Day.  The Feds noticed, too, and recently awarded San Anselmo and San Rafael $1.8 million to improve its sidewalks around three local schools as part of the Safe Routes to School program.
  • Homestead Valley will get a very, very narrow sidewalk on a very, very slow street.
  • The architecturally lazy Novato city offices move forward.
  • The San Anselmo Andronico’s will remain open after Renovo Capital completes its acquisition of the ill-fated company.
  • Patch’s Kelly Dunleavy goes over the Fairfax town budget with the city and opponents to its half-cent sales tax proposal and finds that numbers can be more than they seem to be.
  • San Rafael’s Corporate Center will likely be rezoned to allow for medical and research uses, eliminating 77 parking spaces in its gargantuan 1,323 space lot and allowing for a greater diversity of uses for the downtown office complex.

The Greater Marin

  • While Marin debates the value of SMART, Santa Rosa continues to move forward with renewal plans.
  • Washington, DC – the city, not the feds – has come a long, long way since the days of Marion Barry, with foreign investors flocking to sock their money away in a stable regional economy. Part of the reason: a strong Metro system.
  • Apparently, the only way to combat congestion is through congestion pricing.
  • If you’re going to build massive rail projects like BART, the best way to go is subterranean.
  • While I looked at the cost of driving alone on Marin and found it to be hideously expensive, it’s only one part of the whole economic puzzle, which apparently costs trillions to operate and maintain.  To save that money, we’ll need to spend trillions more on a total infrastructure overhaul.  Could be fun.
  • But in the meantime, the poorest places of the world are finding hope in good urban design.
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