Mid-Week Links: Get a Car

There’s a major threat to walkable living, transit, biking, and even our highways brewing in the House of Representatives in the form of a terribly written transportation reauthorization bill, HR 7.  Although we know Congresswoman Woolsey is firmly against the plan as written, it’s important to keep in mind what is happening on Capitol Hill.

Marin County

  • Novato cracked down on unsafe driving this past weekend, resulting in 44 citations.  It’s a good move for a city that has seen a number of pedestrian accidents in the past few months. (IJ)
  • County planners have approved the Grady Ranch development in Lucas Valley and, unless opponents appeal to the Board of Supervisors, the project will go ahead as planned. (IJ)
  • West Marin may help the county satisfy some of its affordable housing requirements by allowing ranches and farms to build workforce and owner housing on-site, cutting down driving commutes into the region. (IJ)
  • SMART ceremonially broke ground on its transit system, marking the beginning of real construction and the culmination of years of work. (Patch)
  • San Rafael’s Ritter Center expansion is on hold pending an appeal by Gerstle Park residents. The expansion would be a medical center housed in a temporary building, though Ritter says they will look for a new when it lease expires in 2015. (IJ)
  • West End is apparently a quirky place for the young and hip to shop in San Rafael, not to say that it doesn’t have challenges: auto-oriented businesses on the north side of Fourth, the half-dead Yardbirds strip mall, too-wide streets, lack of continuity with downtown, and an anti-development bias keep the neighborhood from really thriving. (Reporter, New Pointer)
  • Albert Park and the San Rafael Pacifics are go thanks to a judge’s ruling against Gerstle Park opponents of the planned baseball field who had sought to block the team. (IJ)

The Greater Marin

  • MTC has rejected political appeals of projects that do not meet its required cost-benefit floor, putting common sense above more narrow local interest. (TransForm)
  • Intuition is correct: parking minimums encourage driving, and I think it’s high time for Marin to abandon the unscientific minimums posthaste.  (The Atlantic Cities)
  • The Americas Cup has downsized its plans for San Francisco and will not renovate Piers 30 and 32 after all thanks to regulatory issues.  Still, the Cup is a great excuse for the City to invest in its waterfront and should be a strong incentive for Sausalito to do the same. (SFist, SPUR)
  • Bicyclists like the same routes drivers do, and for the same reasons. I suspect that making it safer for bikers to use main roads would do more for cycling mode share than shunting them onto side roads.  In other words, bike lanes belong just where planners may not want to put them: Sir Francis Drake, Delong, and Fourth Street. (The City Fix)
  • Luxury car drivers, take note: you may be driving like a jerk and not even notice it. (SFist)
  • In case you missed Smart Growth America’s webinar on sustainable communities, they have their materials up for perusal. (SGA)
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Mid-Week Links: Room with a View

a Sausalito view

photo by Robert B. Livingston via Flickr

  • Marin’s bayshore towns, especially Tiburon and Sausalito, are hoping they don’t get swamped by the America’s Cup, a 20-day event scheduled for next summer, and have requested an EIR on the impacts the increased boat and tourist traffic could have on their communities.  Included in Sausalito’s letter is this telling line: “It is not uncommon for the ferries to reach bicycle capacity and strand bicyclists in Sausalito to find other modes of transportation back to San Francisco.”  Yikes.
  • If your “other mode of transportation back to San Francisco” involves that bike, and if you’re starting to get tourist/gawker fatigue, the Golden Gate Bridge has good news: the Western sidewalk is reopening Saturday.
  • Sausalito might build a “hip” bathroom downtown.  It sounds like it’ll be a markedly different design than San Francisco’s proposed pooplets.
  • If you eventually arrive in the City, you might get a good ride down Market: San Francisco might shut down Market Street to car traffic in the near future, prioritizing cyclists, pedestrians and transit.
  • Old news now, but San Rafael’s Albert Park may soon be home to a minor league baseball team.  Think it sounds too cool to be true?  You may be right.
  • Elsewhere in San Rafael, electoral season’s endorsements begin with the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce giving its stamp of approval to mayoral candidate Gary Phillips and Council candidate Andrew McCullough.
  • Fairfax’s held a big town meeting on Terrapin Crossroads, the proposed major music venue in downtown.  Patch’s Kelly Dunlevy was there to record it: Part I and Part II.
  • Although we normally don’t recommend bikes and beer together, I think we can make an exception for Biketoberfest.
  • Work on Larkspur’s Doherty Drive has been delayed once again, this time because none of the bids were low enough and the city rejected them all.
  • And finally, in inevitable SMART news, the agency’s new GM Farhad Mansourian is getting paid quite a bit to run the organization, and the Press-Democrat editorial board thinks the deal sucks.  In response to criticism from another source, RepealSMART, Mansourian fired a shot across their bow in his first real, full-throated defense of the SMART project.  Shame it had to be over his salary.