SMART Moves Forward

If you haven’t already seen it, the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) approved an $8 million bailout of the SMART rail project.  The rail project’s phase one will extend from downtown Santa Rosa to downtown San Rafael, with operations aimed to begin in 2014.

Not everyone is so pleased with the result.  RepealSMART, an anti-transit organization formed exclusively to fight the project, is suing in Marin Superior Court, saying TAM meetings violated open meetings laws and election promises in providing the bailout.  The organization also alleges that SMART has an undisclosed $35 million deficit, a number group lead John Parnell says comes from an anonymous source.  Although he claims he’d have no issue if the train were being built at once, he calls the first segment “useless.”  Those that live and work along the segment will doubtless disagree.

Mid-Week Links: On Tenterhooks

NETWORK_LA transit has a wonderful video about moving LA from cars to transit.

Unlike LA, Marin might be stepping back towards the car if the Transportation Authority of Marin reverses last week’s vote to transfer $8 million to the SMART project at today’s meeting. (Marin IJ, Press Democrat)

The San Rafael mayoral race is already under way.  We’ll be watching this. (San Rafael Patch)

Limiting a parking lot to just the store’s customers is hugely inefficient.  Not only does it encourage people to drive fractions of a mile from lot to lot, but it creates redundant parking spaces, wasting land. (Reinventing Parking)

SMART will be a boon to downtown San Rafael, and that’s good for everyone in Marin. (San Rafael Patch)

Greater Greater Washington found that sometimes, people just don’t realize that bicycles are used for things other than recreation. (Greater Greater Washington)

Mid-Week Links: Coming to Earth

Paved paradise...

Good Earth and a parking lot

San Anselmo-Fairfax Patch reports that the Fairfax Council has approved Good Earth’s plans to move to the abandoned supermarket at the east end of town. It’s a great use of a dilapidated space, but couldn’t they have done something about that sea of parking? (Patch)

The IJ reports on the bizarre Transportation Authority of Marin meeting that first rejected, then accepted, the SMART fund bailout. Given that the public went home thinking the proposal failed, TAM will hold the meeting again and take a revote.  (Marin IJ)

The Washington, DC, Metrorail system is looking at expansion.  Local blog Greater Greater Washington argues that it should stay in the core.  BART, meanwhile, continues to push out into the suburbs. (Greater Greater Washington)

While Novato stews over its affordable housing mandates, the County is looking for affordable housing locations in its unincorporated areas.  A shame transit access and mixed-use development doesn’t play into much of the discussions. (Novato Advance, Marin IJ)

Be prepared: most of Marin’s first responders live hours from the County, meaning that, in the event of a major disaster, Marinites will be without aid for three to seven days.  Better be ready to hunker down for a while after the Big One. (Pacific Sun)

In a blast from the past, Fortune republished an article from 1958 detailing the politics and looming problems of the then-under-construction Interstate Highway System.  Most of the problems we deal with now were foreseen even then. (CNN/Forbes)