Mid-Week Links: Portly Passengers


Pardon my geekery, but this was the first I’d seen of Marin’s old commuter trains in action.  They’re EMUs, the electrical version of SMART’s DMUs.  Strange also to see so much empty space in West End, and interesting to see how the buildings along the rails still treat the roads as something to be shunned.

Marin County Elections

  • San Anselmo, Larkspur and Corte Madera all had council debates this week, none of which are available online.  At least you can read about the races; that’s good enough, right?  If you can time it right, you can watch them on the Community Media Center of Marin’s live stream.
  • There is a highly edited video of the San Rafael Council Candidate’s forum available on Patch with a pre-event questionnaire.  Candidates are all in favor of leveraging SMART to improve downtown, with incumbent Damon Connolly giving the strongest answers.
  • Last month’s San Rafael mayoral debate may not have been recorded (the host speculated that it “would’ve been a good idea”), but that doesn’t mean there’s no news.
  • Tiburon’s school board race wouldn’t come up but for a renewed focus on making Tiburon Boulevard, the principal artery on the peninsula, a safer, better street for all users but especially schoolchildren.
  • Mill Valley’s vacancies were uncontested, so the town cancelled their elections.  Not everyone is happy.

Marin County

  • SMART has secured authorization from the MTC to use $33.1 million in Larkspur station funds on the IOS.
  • “We believe in working toward making [SMART] better, ensuring that it spends its money wisely and makes sound decisions. Opponents just want to kill it.” – Press-Democrat Editorial Board
  • Marin Transit contracts with Golden Gate Transit to provide local bus service within Marin, and it wants to renegotiate.  In the comments Kevin Moore and I get into the details of GGT’s farebox recovery rate.
  • Food Truck Crush is over for now.  Long live Off the Grid!
  • A driver accidentally killed herself and seriously injured a passenger in a crash on 101.
  • San Rafael’s West End is a bit of a drive-through part of the city, and a vacant Big Box doesn’t help.
  • Two new developments are up for review in San Rafael: a 67-unit apartment building at 1380 Mission and a 9 unit townhome building at 21 G.  The meeting and documents are available on San Rafael’s website.
  • Biking is certainly for road mobility, but MCBC is shifting focus to the slopes and trails in Marin’s open space.
  • Getting women interested in biking, one class at a time.
  • Believe it or not, it’s more expensive to live in Marin than it is to live in San Francisco.  Being forced to rely on the car doesn’t help.
  • Novato debated its housing element last night.  No word on decisions as of press time.
  • Mill Valley did the same, and also debated an amendment to the Miller Avenue Streetscape Plan.
  • San Anselmo is getting a bunch of slurry seal work done on its roads, although it was delayed by rain.

The Greater Marin

  • Santa Rosa is getting progressive, what with plans for a pedestrian bridge, bicycle parking and shower requirements.  It could use an overhaul of its use-based zoning restrictions, though.
  • San Francisco’s F-Line – those historic streetcars running along the Embarcadero – is expanding West.
  • The US Department of Transportation is pushing high-speed rail loans out the door before Congress shuts down the whole intercity rail project.
  • Greater Greater Washington posits that music venues should engage with the streetscape but often don’t, and I’m inclined to agree.  Fenix Live in San Rafael will do well on this metric.
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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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