RVSD board member pushes parking in Larkspur

According to a source trusted by The Greater Marin, Ross Valley Sanitary District (RVSD) Board Member Frank Egger wants to convert RVSD-owned land at Larkspur Landing from a 120-unit residential area to a 600-space parking lot, presumably to serve the Larkspur Ferry Terminal (LFT). To make this possible, Egger is pressing Larkspur officials to change the zoning on the RVSD parcel.

While it’s no great secret that LFT has a parking shortage, Egger’s idea is exceptionally foolish from almost any angle.

District Finances – RVSD has a crushing maintenance backlog and huge financial problems. Developing its residentially-zoned property for either sale or lease would provide a much-needed cash influx to the agency. While parking fees would generate some income to the district, it is significantly less than what 120 homes could bring in. Parking simply doesn’t generate the income development does, and that’s not to mention sales or property taxes to Larkspur.

Traffic – A new lot of 600 parking spaces would generate as many as 600 extra rush hour car trips. A development of 120 new homes would generate, at most, 240 rush hour car trips, though likely much less given the proximity to the ferry. If Egger is concerned about traffic, parking will be worse than homes.

Ferry Ridership – The new lot would generate up to 600 peak-period, peak-direction ferry trips, precisely the sort of trip the system has little capacity to accommodate. The 120 homes would generate up to 120 (more likely less than 100) similar trips. However, if built to attract visitors, the homes could complement future new development that would attract reverse-peak and off-peak trips. Golden Gate Ferry desperately needs people to commute from San Francisco to Larkspur Landing for the service’s sustainability.

Frank Egger has led the charge against the Fairfax Housing Element, especially against allowing the downtown to expand into areas now dominated by parking (an idea that even Dick Spotswood endorsed). From his perch on the RVSD Board, Egger is continuing to push a cars-first ideology. He wouldn’t phrase it this way, but it’s clear he’d rather build homes for cars instead of homes for actual people.

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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.

4 Responses to RVSD board member pushes parking in Larkspur

  1. Al Scotch says:

    Who cares about ” INCOME TO THE DISTRICT” . The extra parking would meet existing ferry capacity. Lets operate our ferries as cost effectively as possible ( they cost enough already) — and provide a much needed way of reducing traffic congestion from Larkspur to the city.

    • Well:

      – The welfare of RVSD’s finances and infrastructure is the Board’s primary, maybe only, responsibility
      – Ferries are already at or near their maximum peak-period capacity. Extra parking would just push them over the edge.
      – Operating ferries as cost-effectively as possible would mean boosting off-peak ridership, when there is spare capacity. Boosting peak-period ridership would necessitate more ferries (and ferry crews) at peak hours, which wouldn’t be free.

  2. Kevin Murphy says:

    [Removed for violating comment policy.]
    In my opinion, based on his postings he might be regarded as a novelist. HIs objectives are misguided, irrelevant, and marginally amusing at best. The infrastructure of Marin can’t handle the dense urban packing he has dreamed up for his former home county. Until and unless the county’s infrastructure is upgraded to handle the water supply, sewage, traffic and transportation problems we currently face it is illogical to increase the county’s density to the extent he advocates. If Dave really lived here, and if he’s fundamentally pragmatic he would probably have a very different position on this subject.
    Unfortunately, Dave’s opinions are shared by a number of people in regional offices who don’t know what it is like here, they just want us to share their pains. We have a housing supply and affordability problem. Every community in the Bay Area has the same problem. Its no more an emergency here than in San Francisco , San Jose, or San Leandro. Marin, uniquely, does not have a way to transport many more people within or through Marin to or from the job centers of the Bay Area. We have a limited water supply. We have a sewage system that’s beyond capacity.
    A practical impediment to density is the cost of adding or upgrading infrastructure. Careful readings of honest EIR’s reveal inadequacies in LOS across many services. These facts get in the way of progress. The state and region’s solutions: Lower the minimum standard for Level of Service, build, and then impose restrictions on the overall community. It’s awfully easy to sell this to the idealists and ignorants. It should be impossible to build without requiring system wide upgrades to infrastructure be part of the developers’ costs. Lowering the LOS should not be considered a solution. Every other standard of product quality and safety in America gets raised – cars, air & water, fire protection, airline travel, and building codes. Why lower the standards for the community’s quality of life? Impatient fools and profit mixed developers.
    [Removed for violating comment policy.]IMHO, taking the Fox News approach of distorting statistics or featuring informercials as opinions to support a cause is not research.

    • To address the only on topic point, regarding the capacity and state of repair of the Ross Valley’s sewage system:

      RVSD has a decades-long maintenance backlog and is woefully short on funds to upgrade it. Turning this land into parking is throwing money away, money needed to upgrade and maintain our infrastructure. Is it ideological to protest the loss of millions to the District? Or to point out that a parking lot will strain certain infrastructure more than housing?

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