Mid-Week Links: Transportation Everywhere

Marcus McBride


  • SMART might get delayed yet again, with Interim Executive Director Farhad Mansourian saying, “I doubt we will be operational by 2014.”  It seems as though the two-year delay specified in their updated financial report, which saved $24 million in operating costs, isn’t due to cost-cutting but rather because getting approval to build on wetland takes far longer than the Board had expected.  You can hear about that and much more later today at SMART’s Board meeting, 1:30pm at San Rafael’s Council Chambers or tomorrow’s Citizens Oversight Committee meeting at 7:30am.
  • Highway 101 is getting a $24 million repaving.  A fix-it-first policy is always good – it saves money for government and for drivers – but I should hope that these monies would receive the same scrutiny as TAM’s $8 million SMART bailout.
  • Fairfax’s potential new music venue, Terrapin Crossing, got some support from the IJ editorial board, who said that the Phil Lesh idea would be “a golden opportunity for the town.”
  • Another town faces affordable housing in a cautionary tale from SoCal as to the results of blanket opposition.

Around the Bay

  • Transit use is dramatically up across the Bay Area over last year.  The article doesn’t mention Golden Gate Transit, but according to their site ridership on GGT buses increased by 1.3% while ridership in GGT ferries increased by 7.4% and is now higher than before the recession.  Driving took a hit, though, with Golden Gate Bridge traffic down 1.3%.
  • Regional integration of transit agencies would help to improve service across the region and further boost ridership.
  • Something happened to BART that dealt with cell phones.  It’s not getting much coverage, though.

 The Greater Marin

  • It looks like merchants tend to misjudge how people get to their stores, giving driving a far larger share of the pie than other modes.  This could lead to local merchants opposing bike lanes and pushing for more parking to boost customers, even if those policies don’t help.
  • Seattle is looking to cut car use in half in the city in a bid to become a carbon-neutral town.
  • The New York Times shines a light on the dangers of missing crosswalks and sidewalks.  Marin is blessed that it lacks the huge, 10-lane arterials that run through cities like Orlando or Raleigh.
  • The General Services Administration, landlord for the Federal government, is working with Washington, DC’s transit agency to build or rent its buildings near transit, especially the Metro system.  This is especially important given that government buildings can stress neighborhoods that aren’t designed to handle such commutes, and is a shift from previous policy that just looks at the cheapest options.
  • California’s High-Speed Rail is in court, as Peninsula governments have brought a lawsuit against them, saying they provided bad ridership information, bad cost information, performed a poor environmental review and failed to do a proper analysis of the vehicular impact of the system.
  • Proponents of CAHSR, meanwhile, counter cost arguments by saying that the cost of doing nothing is $100 billion in new airport and road infrastructure, and Harry Reid joined the chorus in favor.
  • And the San Francisco Chronicle goes all out with four pieces on the subject, calling it our generation’s Golden Gate Bridge, a necessity, and a potential new industry.  In dissent, Jerry Hill calls into question the fiscal viability of the project given the present climate of austerity in Sacramento and Washington.

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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