Mid-Week Links: Back to the Future

Contraflow bus lane on US 101 in Marin County (1973)

Contraflow bus lane on US 101 in Marin County. A shame they didn't stay. (1973)

Thanks to some filename snafus, you may have missed my San Anselmo Spider Map, which you can now grab here without hassle.

Got a tip?  Email me at thegreatermarin [at] gmail.com. Link round-ups are hard work, and I can’t read everything.


  • Last week, Mill Valley kicked off its general plan update, Mill Valley 2040.  The next year will consist of brainstorming by three committees on community vitality, land use and mobility, and natural environment, as well as input from the general public. It’s the first update since 1989. (Mill Valley Herald)
  • Wincup’s developers will donate $250,000 to Corte Madera’s traffic fund to mitigate negative traffic impacts of its development.  Staff have yet to identify a use for the funds. (IJ)
  • A Sausalito entrepreneur has plans to start a shuttle for bike-renting tourists who find themselves semi-stranded in Marin after biking over the Bridge.  Sadly, the service will avoid bus routes, disconnecting the system from existing mobility options. (Marinscope)
  • The Good Earth opens in Fairfax today at 10:30am in its new location. The store marks a new beginning for that corner of town, removing a major downtown blight. (IJ)
  • Ugly, noisy, crowded, and a foot in the door: these are what opponents are calling Lucasfilm’s Grady Ranch development, a large complex of stages, studios, visitor housing and support infrastructure in Lucas Valley. (ABC)
  • Looks like San Quentin will not be a priority development zone after all, as environmental activists hated the idea even though the land is state-owned and won’t sell unless the prison closes. (IJ)
  • The County Planning Commission has approved a West Marin plan, tightening rules for development on the coast and loosening some ranching restrictions.  A discussion on the subject will be held on March 4 in Point Reyes, followed by a review by the Board of Supervisors. (IJ)
  • MALT will get a new executive director for 2013 as Bob Berner, head of the Trust since its inception, is retiring. (Pacific Sun)
  • The Ritter Center wants to expand its medical services to an on-site trailer.  The San Rafael Planning Commission heard the proposal last night. (Patch)

The Greater Marin

  • Rather than repair the Petaluma River swing bridge, SMART staff want to buy a used drawbridge from Galveston, Texas. The cost would be considerably less, and the bridge is projected to last 80 years. (Press Democrat)
  • The House is proposing a roads-only transportation bill, and that’s bad news for anyone that cares about moving around – including drivers. (Sacramento Bee)
  • Healdsburg is moving ahead with its main street roundabout plan, despite opposition from car-centric businesses and a dearth of redevelopment funding. (Press Democrat)

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.

3 Responses to Mid-Week Links: Back to the Future

  1. Dan Lyke says:

    Would you expand a little bit on the “Sadly, the service will avoid bus routes, disconnecting the system from existing mobility options.” statement? Seems to me that the counter is that the existing bus routes aren’t useful to a fairly large population that’s apparently willing to pay enough for the service that it won’t need the huge subsidies that transit usually benefits from.

    My recurring rant is that transit’s customers aren’t its users, that far too often in setting it up as a thinly veiled income redistribution system in the hope that in a few decades building patterns will shift it creates this system that’s not only less efficient per passenger mile than automobiles and takes longer, it serves to simply enable sprawl.

    I hate to have subsidized services drive an entrepreneur out of business, but maybe the bus routes could examine this as a way to improve their services…

    • It’s the ferry system that’s sucking in this case, and Marin Transit enables the problem to remain by not providing sufficient service between the various destinations in Southern Marin for tourists. One of Sausalito’s big concerns for the Americas Cup is handling cyclists, as they already get stranded when the ferries get full. Integrating with San Francisco’s bikeshare system might help, but I’m skeptical that Sausalito would do that.

      My concern with this particular system is that, although it will provide a great service, it doesn’t connect with existing transit and so forces tourists to distinguish between one bus stop and another and forces Marinites to move from one stop to another if they want to catch this shuttle. Having two transit networks that don’t connect but serve the same area is foolish and robs both of value.

  2. Dan Lyke says:

    Yeah, my impression, and I could be totally full of hoohey on this, is that the ferry gets something on the order of 14 passenger miles per gallon. So they’re likely not making their operation costs back from passenger fares. Given that the agencies paying for the ferry have no need to support the externalities of the bicycle rental business, they’re more concerned with bridge traffic and having the ferry around for disaster preparedness, it makes sense that there’s no desire to provide extra capacity there.

    I doubt the bike shuttle service loses anything by not pursuing connections. Its users are going to be one-time riders, the transit agencies are completely oriented around regular riders (if you doubt this, try to use them: the barrier to that first bus ride on a route is huge, and for me it’s generally taken several rides on a route before I figure out how to actually use a system). The transit systems may benefit from interoperation, but I suspect that the bike shuttle service would actually find interoperation a detriment: they won’t be serving commuters, and, I don’t sound too snooty, but, the other occasional transit users are of an economic class that they probably won’t be able to use an un-subsidized system.

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