Mid-Week Links: On Tenterhooks

NETWORK_LA transit has a wonderful video about moving LA from cars to transit.

Unlike LA, Marin might be stepping back towards the car if the Transportation Authority of Marin reverses last week’s vote to transfer $8 million to the SMART project at today’s meeting. (Marin IJ, Press Democrat)

The San Rafael mayoral race is already under way.  We’ll be watching this. (San Rafael Patch)

Limiting a parking lot to just the store’s customers is hugely inefficient.  Not only does it encourage people to drive fractions of a mile from lot to lot, but it creates redundant parking spaces, wasting land. (Reinventing Parking)

SMART will be a boon to downtown San Rafael, and that’s good for everyone in Marin. (San Rafael Patch)

Greater Greater Washington found that sometimes, people just don’t realize that bicycles are used for things other than recreation. (Greater Greater Washington)

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Novato’s Affordable Housing Opportunity

Hopefully not Novato's future

New housing mandates for the City of Novato present a huge opportunity for the city, if only residents can bring themselves to seize the moment.

The big story in Novato this past month has been affordable housing.  The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is mandating new housing the city for the next five years under the “fair share” policy, under which each Bay Area government takes its fair share of the projected regional growth.  There has been a tremendous outpouring against the proposed sites as well as the process in general, leaving affordable housing advocates hopelessly outgunned.

Although ABAG shouldn’t be mandating housing to Novato at all (not to say that Novato’s government is terribly wise about its zoning policies to begin with), the situation does present an opportunity for the city to address some underlying issues that might otherwise get lost in the debate.  What kind of town ought Novato be?  How can it serve its residents better?  Neither side has been particularly effective in conveying their overall vision for the city, I think the answers can be broken down into three parts: density, transportation, and character.

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