April 28, 2013 20 Comments
The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District (GGBHTD) could approve a parking garage at Larkspur Ferry Terminal in the next few months. Such a concession to a single mode would be bad news for transit-oriented development around Larkspur Landing and for ridership and would be a waste of money by the District.
Today I sent letters to all 19 members of GGBHTD’s Board of Directors asking them to reject the garage in favor of other solutions, such as a Transit Center shuttle or a parking district. I also sent letters to General Manager Denis Mulligan and Deputy General Manager of the Ferry Division James Swindler, asking them to recommend against a garage.
If you want to do the same, sign this letter and let your GGBHTD Board members know. Feel free to use the letter below, either to email or snail-mail your response or as talking points for a phone call. You can find members’ contact information on the Board website. Click on their portrait for more info.
Together, I’m confident we can defeat the money-wasting garages in favor of a solution that is more financially sustainable and better for our county and the region.
Dear Member of the Board,
I’m writing to you to express my concerns about the construction of parking garages at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. In short, I feel this is an expensive solution to the problem of getting passengers to the ferry terminal. There are two less expensive ways to achieve the same ends:
Utilize unused parking stalls in Larkspur Landing.
- According to the parking survey conducted in the Larkspur Station Area Plan, there are 520 surplus parking stalls in the Larkspur Landing neighborhood. The survey found that these stalls will never be used by the buildings that own them.
- The larger garage under consideration by GGBHTD would add a net 569 new spaces, barely more than are available in Larkspur Landing at present.
- A shared parking arrangement would allow GGBHTD to use those 520 spaces.
- A shared parking arrangement would be beneficial to building owners, who would be able to charge the same parking fee as GGBHTD would on its parking lot.
- A shared parking arrangement would be beneficial to the owners of Marin Country Mart, whose parking lot is also at 100% capacity on weekends.
Implement a shuttle from the Transit Center to the Ferry Terminal.
- This replicates the promotional periods of the previous shuttle program, the only successful periods of that shuttle’s existence.
- Since this replicates the promotional periods, ridership estimates should reflect those of the promotional period. This is approximately 550 trips per day.
- Even if the shuttle has low ridership, the fare collected from each shuttle passenger remains $6 each way.
- Every passenger who takes the shuttle will open a parking spaces for a new passenger, which means another $2 parking fee and two $6 ferry fares.
- Therefore, each passenger on the shuttle will result in gross income of $26: two $6 fares from the shuttle passenger, two $6 fares from the driver who takes the shuttle passenger’s parking spot, and one $2 parking fee from the driver.
- If ridership reflects the promotional periods, GGBHTD would receive $785,000 in new revenue per year. Less the cost of a dedicated shuttle, this means GGBHTD would receive a $125,000 profit from the shuttle.
Option 1 is free except for staff time to make the arrangements with the City of Larkspur and neighbors. Option 2 is free to implement and would be profitable. In contrast, both the small and large garage will require subsidies to operate, on the order of $14,000 and $30,000 per year apiece, assuming the cost of replacement is included in budgeting plans.
I urge you to reject the garage proposals in favor of one or both of these alternatives. A chart of costs is included below. Detailed proposals can be found at:
Thank you for your time.