Mid-Week Links: DOT Smash

Freeway removal is getting rather more attention from the planning community, but implementing it in the highly linear and non-porous Marin environment is probably impractical.  Still, there are a number of freeway-like roadways through towns – Miracle Mile, Novato Boulevard, Second and Third Streets, Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and others – which would benefit from retrofitting.

Marin County

  • Newly appointed County Supervisor Katie Rice outlines her priorities to the IJ. Among them: encouraging alternative forms of transportation.
  • After 13 years, Supervisor Steve Kinsey has stepped aside as chairman of the Transportation Authority of Marin.
  • The SMART board is making its first bond issue.  Opponents say its expensive, as the funds will be placed into escrow, but the money will still be there after the repeal effort is resolved, and, meanwhile, the Board can continue to pay down the loans.  Oddly, the CFO is now on paid leave.
  • Marin is re-enacting the split lot fee, which is levied in lieu of requiring affordable housing.  In other words, the County is charging homeowners from building more homes in the name of keeping housing affordable in defiance of basic economics.
  • It’s almost official: the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved purchase of the $82 million San Rafael Commons for the County’s new security center.  The purchase hasn’t been finalized, but it’s about as done as it can be on the County side of things.  I’m not holding out hope that the nearby bus pads will be upgraded to be attractive in the least, so the site will remain fairly transit-inaccessible.
  • The California Highway Patrol will soon implement Operation Clear, which will focus on removing accidents quickly from Highway 101 during the morning rush hour.

San Rafael & Novato

  • Terrapin Crossroads may have been axed from Fairfax, but there’s talk Phil Lesh is interested in opening a venue in San Rafael.
  • The San Rafael Planning Commission has chosen to delay a vote on the planned San Rafael Airport sports complex pending review of public comments.
  • Canal residents celebrated a new community mural on the side of the Canal Alliance offices.
  • Opponents to the Albert Park/Pacifics plan have sued Centerfield Partners for an environmental study.
  • Novato wants to build a bike park out at Stafford Lake Park for $850,000. It’s a roughly 20 minute ride from Novato along a bike path.
  • Following a rash of accidents, Novato police are cracking down on red light safety.  Such efforts are good, but will do nothing for pedestrian safety.
  • The Black Point rail swing bridge across the Petaluma River has been fully repaired and is back in operation.

South Marin

  • A Southern California appeals court has ruled that cities can ban pot dispensaries, but the fight remains.  Corte Madera is hedging its bets and extending its temporary moratorium.
  • Two drivers suffered major injuries after a surface-street crash in Corte Madera.
  • The Dipsea Stairs in Mill Valley have been renovated.  When not used in the oldest trail race in the country, the Dipsea Stairs are a vital walking path for those that live on the hillsides above downtown Mill Valley.
  • The affordable housing debate reaches Mill Valley.
  • The Sausalito City Council approved unifying its fire department with the Southern Marin Fire Protection District by 3-2 margin.  Unless at least 1,250 signatures are collected protesting the move, the City will join at a cost of $2.7 million per year.

The Greater Marin

  • Encouraging bicycling through better cycle facilities is good for business.
  • Looks like California’s High Speed Rail isn’t a terribly new idea.
  • Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
  • There’s a push in Napa to develop a light rail system between St. Helena and the City of Napa along the Wine Train’s right-of-way, but backers are having trouble raising the $2 million required for study.
  • Golden Gate Transit isn’t the only bus system that has trouble communicating with riders.  Virginia’s Fairfax County does a horrid job, confusing even seasoned riders.
  • The San Francisco Ferry Building sent a letter of complaint to the city regarding Occupy SF protestors nearby.  Anyone have any trouble?
  • A California appeals court ruled that drivers cannot use their cell phones while stopped at red lights because, apparently, you’re still driving even when you’re stopped.  Go figure.
  • UPDATE: Congress has a compromise bill on transportation, and the figures aren’t good.

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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