Planning for Reality - Richard Hall

High density housing, the urbanization of Marin and transit oriented development need a dose of reality to overcome dogma and utopian dreams. This blog delivers the required dosage. Flag as Inappropriate

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Michael D Setty February 11, 2014 at 10:49 am
It would help if you had facts, Richard.
Michael D. Smith March 25, 2014 at 01:17 am
Be very weary of Mr. Hall and his recommendations. He has affiliations with the bay area teaRead More whacko's and has even invited members of the Cato Institute to speak to Citizen Marin members. I believe that the issue of housing density in Marin is being used by the Tea Party and other right wing interests to infilitrate Marin politics and sway elections.
Assembly Bill 1537 - a wolf in sheep's clothing?
Stephen Nestel February 12, 2014 at 10:32 pm
Gerald, I don't think the PDA crowd wants growth, they want the dream sold to them by planners andRead More politicians. And why not? It sounds lovely, new affordable housing, bikeable, walkable communities, public transportation and puppies and rainbows (okay, I threw in the last two). The reality is these homes ARE very profitable for the developers, builders and bankers. In reality, non profit "workforce housing" are simply another small apartment , with restrictive rules that only will be discounted a small amount from market rate housing. Non profit developers DO make $$$. The business is structured as a "non profit" to access funding sources and decrease tax exposure. Do you know that many high tech firms are structured as non profits? In fact, the New York Stock Exchange whose chairman earned $60 million annually was a non profit for years? Not all non profits are worthy of "Mother Theresa" adoration. They are simply a business.
Richard Hall February 12, 2014 at 11:49 pm
@Gerald: We think the PDA crowd wants to accelerate growth beyond what is the norm, and has been theRead More norm for a long time. It is as if population forecasts suddenly significantly jumped. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Secondly the form of the growth is out of the scale and architectural style. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thirdly we believe we can accommodate the continued measured growth, and grow we must, but we can achieve this while maintaining the architectural low rise, low density character of Marin. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- While some use the term "fair share" consider the other term "built out". -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Finally consider that many (most one might argue) moved to Marin for it's rural (and a little suburban) character. Urbanization is being imposed upon this majority by a vocal minority that (i) thinks it knows best (ii) has sought to avoid genuine engagement, perhaps because this might jeopardize it meeting it's goals and (iii) is biased by special interests. Many of this majority are only just awakening to what's happening. When consulted they are concerned. Others are concerned by the locations being proposed which seem hardly "fair" at all given unhealthy locations next to freeways. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think Marin has a great policy requiring new developments to be 20% affordable. Let's keep this policy as we continued measured (not accelerated) growth.
Michael D. Smith March 25, 2014 at 01:24 am
I have a theory that the high density housing issues are nothing more than a conduit for right wingRead More organizations like the Tea Party to infilitrate Marin politics and sway elections. Mr. Hall himself has had a member of the Cato institute come in and spread right wing extremiest propaganda. Something smells very rotten about Citizen Marin and I would advise every true citizen of Marin to really think hard about affiliating themselves with Mr. Hall or his organization.
It would be nostalgic
Linda Rames February 6, 2014 at 03:45 pm
I am sure you noticed that the Op-ed piece was partially written by one of the architects whoRead More proposed this silly scheme in the first place. My favorite part is the trolley that would run from Mill Valley to Sausalito which would have to utilize the old railroad tracks which have now been turned into a bike/pedestrian path. Good luck on getting that back from the people.
Stephen Nestel February 6, 2014 at 06:56 pm
I like the bike paths. It is a very cheap way to provide both alternative transportation solutionRead More and recreation in one piece of asphalt. The trolley is profoundly silly. I cannot believe even a single penny was spent on a "study" let alone $200k.
Pekupandropov February 8, 2014 at 01:31 pm
Good work. Politicians just hate competent analysis. They will of course "assume" thatRead More each trolley will carry 500 people and that they will run every 20 seconds. Cost effective! Just like Smart and the California medium speed rail project.
Does TAM have something to hide?
John Parnell February 5, 2014 at 04:57 pm
If it makes you feel better, Ms. Steinhauser hasn't complied with the arbitrated terms of my lawsuitRead More against TAM. She has neither provided the documents TAM was supposed to provide me as a result of our lawsuit, nor has she complied with the terms. In fact, when we signed our arbitrated settlement, she told me that the TAM board first had to approve the terms, before she could sign. She signed it over a year ago, but it recently came to my attention that she NEVER notified the board. When I tried discussing this publicly, I was threatened with legal action. Muzzling me was part of the settlement too, which is the Supes' M.O. so nobody else can discuss their mistakes; but it seems that is the only part of the settlement she intends to honor. So TAM/Steinhauser won't honor our legal agreement, but supposedly I can't talk about it. Figure that one out.
Michael February 6, 2014 at 02:27 pm
out of control government. Our 'royalty'. I have sent a request to Steinhauser requesting sheRead More respond to your request. I'll let you know what I hear if anything. We have allowed our government to grow to abusive levels and this is the end product. The real question is how to start eliminating these abusing self righteous employees (and entire agencies) that offer us taxpayer little in the way of necessary services. Owell's vision has unfortunately come true because we have allowed it to.
Stephen Nestel February 6, 2014 at 06:51 pm
What could be so SECRET about transportation that you are getting stonewalled? Bus schedules?Read More Clearly there is something to be hidden from the public. Maybe it is the cozy relationship with consultants, lobbyists and politicians. Could there be some favoritism? Maybe they want to hide embarrassing data or their doubts about Plan Bay Area. Why is the Richmond San Rafael Bridge still only two lanes? I am guessing there is a whole nest of activity that could prove embarrassing. Yes, we should have the truth. We paid for it. We have paid ALOT for it.
True solutions
Michael D. Smith February 12, 2014 at 04:22 pm
This might explain Richards lack of civility in all manners he's involved in. I don't think it's inRead More his guidebook to be civil. http://www.p4sc.org/articles/all/agenda-21-and-anti-housing-movement?utm_content=bettypagett%40gmail.com&utm_source=VerticalResponse&
Richard Hall February 12, 2014 at 06:15 pm
@Penna: Thanks. One should beware of near-empty buses that run every 15 minutes at peak - thisRead More qualifies everywhere within a 1/2 mile radius as a Transit Priority Area. In such an area new housing can be planned without consideration to impact on car traffic. Instead this new methodology will likely replace Level of Service that measures delay of vehicles at intersections: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- http://opr.ca.gov/docs/PreliminaryEvaluationTransportationMetrics.pdf
Richard Hall February 12, 2014 at 06:20 pm
@Micheal: I hope Betty Pagett is OK with you posting her private email address in IJ comments, hereRead More on Patch and on Facebook pages in association with inflammatory articles. (You didn't truncate the Vertical Response email blast variables). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It would appear that EAH Housing is involved with your inflammatory posts? http://www.eahhousing.org/pages/detail/3037
If representation is failing, DO NOT question supervisors' motivations
Kevin Moore January 31, 2014 at 09:53 am
I took a debating class in high school. A class that should be mandatory for all students. TwoRead More basic rules: 1. Don't interrupt the speaker. 2. Don't monopolize the speaking time. If you do all of the talking and no listening, it is not a conversation or a debate, it is a dissertation. Both are equally rude.
Michael January 31, 2014 at 04:59 pm
How dare them! They can't stop those who question their motives or those of anyone else. That is notRead More only our right but our civic responsibility as taxpayers living in Marin. Perhaps these politicians never studied civics. Don't fall for this stuff as it deflects from the focus on the real issues. And didn't these folks spend some of their slush find just this week? Continue to question at all times. If they can't take it then we must get rid of them. How dare them attempt to treat us like children.
Jonathan Frieman February 2, 2014 at 08:28 am
Anyone who espouses the belief that the county champions censorship and control of the content ofRead More open time speakers speeches with the above admonishment both misses and hits the mark, but only if we reveal certain facts which place into unique perspective that viewpoint and its superficial value. First off, Franz Listen is correct. Here’s why: Any 1L law student would here show that the rule governing open time resides within state law and a 20-year old case known forevermore as White v. City of Norwalk. Both citations reveal that said speaker—so to speak--may, in open time, criticize any sitting official to their face as long as the speaker doesn’t get out of hand or “otherwise" impede the orderly conduct of the meeting. So yes, clapping for 20 seconds, especially if it’s organized, can be restricted. That’s because Norwalk does mention that these are indeed public meetings—please make sure to include the letter “l” there—and they do need to be conducted, and, if impeded despite requests, only makes the impeder look bad. The declaration that everyone is “expected”--not your average enforceable legal term--to be polite and courteous is, as per the cited rules, supported somewhat by Norwalk. Interestingly, though, the county code doesn’t define genteel behavior. Second, refraining—which presumes we frained in the first place--from questioning motives and character denies our species’ ability to gossip. And gossip is SO important. IMHAHEO (say those letters out loud), the county’s effort to enforce Norwalk like Al Boro invites parody, requests parity and needs to be made pretty, but it’s not heavy-handed. Folks who think censorship is their intent need to think another think.
The 2013 Marin Greenwashing Awards
David Edmondson January 2, 2014 at 11:45 am
Ah, glad I could make the honorable mentions for something you agree with me on. Oh fun.
Michael D. Smith March 25, 2014 at 01:45 am
Wow Tina, so you're trying to pedal the teachings of right wing whack jobs from the Cato Institute?Read More You people really are Tea Party aren't you?
Richard Hall March 25, 2014 at 06:59 am
@Michael. Sorry to disappoint you. By a show of hands at the last Citizen Marin meeting, attended byRead More 30 people, absolutely none were affiliated with the tea party. In contrast many are Democrats and one of the leaders is on the Marin Democratic Central Committee. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think people can see through the misinformation you're trying to spread.
The Story of How Marin Was Ruined (Video)
Judd Ames January 16, 2014 at 10:15 am
Everyone, everything has various names; like “facts” and “truth,” we usuallyRead More call them as we see them. Besides ignoring more recent criticism of “professional” forecasters, let’s clarify: from wherever, your “ruined” Sonoma and Marin thesis included, “…Bay Area investments in transit since the early 1980s have increased, yet per capita ridership has diminished.” My response included, “Ridership on the North Bay bus network has grown 3 percent each month in the past year. To capitalize on this growth, the transit district board will consider reconfiguring routes in Sonoma County to add more express service and potentially add bus service to Rincon Valley;” credited to the planning director of Golden Gate Transit, Ron Downing, by Press Democrat reporter Matt Brown, 12/26/13. Care to contact both and report clarification? Regardless, my response was prompted because it is obvious to likeminded readers that the overall focus of your planned-reality blog is exclusionary; repeatedly confirming elitism is present in all levels of our social strata. Since I’m twice your age, additional debate would be a time-wasting loop ending only with my passing. So we’re done. You can now designate me a troll, added to the silenced critics of your elitist mission: gated communities without gates.
Richard Hall January 16, 2014 at 07:50 pm
@Judd: Already emailed them late on Jan 15th (before your post). I specifically emailed not justRead More Ron Downing and cc'd Matt Brown of the Press Democrat but also Mark Prado who wrote a similar report for the Marin IJ. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The purpose of the blog is to educate and provide the facts. Facts that help expose futile exercises like using taxpayers' money to get people to ride transit (which hasn't worked since the 80s) and then expecting this to reduce greenhouse gases (transit emits more than cars). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I would note that the one way that we could be getting people to ride transit that is proven to work is to reduce transit fares. Yet instead we pour $1.6bn into SMART that could have been used to reduce transit fares and actually increase ridership - and also really helping the low income residents that really need this. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The one fact you called me on turned out to be in my favor based on the official record; but I can understand the confusion created by the Marin IJ and Press Democrat which mis-stated the facts - or Mr Downing at Golden Gate Transit got way ahead of himself.
Richard Hall January 17, 2014 at 10:51 pm
@Judd. You stated “Ridership on the North Bay bus network has grown 3 percent each month inRead More the past year” as reported in the Press Democrat (the Marin IJ picked up the same story). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I checked this data with Ron Downing of Golden Gate Transit as you requested (as mentioned, my inquiry was sent 12 hours before your prompting - basing decisions on facts is important to both of us). Ron Downing of GG Transit states (while carefully conceding any fault): -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "The information contained in the staff report to the Bridge District Board and reflected in the articles in both the Marin Independent Journal and the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat pertains specifically to Golden Gate Transit intercounty service between Sonoma County and San Francisco, Sonoma County and Marin County, and Marin County to San Francisco. " Yet the data is clearly stated in both newspapers as if bus ridership has increased in both Sonoma and Marin. The publicly reported data *conclusively* states the opposite. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So to confirm - bus ridership for Sonoma and Marin is consistently down for the last two years. I also stand by what I stated - transit ridership per capita in the Bay Area since the 1980s is down. (Source: American Public Transportation Association Factsheet 2012, Appendix A) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- My data is not cherry-picked. The data that you quoted to contradict me regarding bus ridership being up last year in Marin and Sonoma was conclusively inaccurate, and confirmed to be so by Golden Gate Transit District. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- http://goldengate.org/news/transit/trends_traffic-transit.php
Don't blink, Senate Bill 1 is coming
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 25, 2014 at 08:57 pm
Mimi, I will email you. I don't know how you feel about AGW, but I am a skeptic. Being at the firstRead More Earth day, and always thought of myself as an environmentalist, I see the alarmists as the opposing side. Most people who believe in it, would be on the same side as I. The alarmists are the ones polarizing. Who's going to believe them when something real comes along?
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 25, 2014 at 09:00 pm
And as I think Tina is talking about. No harm in building and expanding organically environmentally,Read More and socially in better ways. But the extent, and control over every part of life, and property rights is the goal of Agenda 21. I have much homework here.
Fortified- AKA Carlos Danger February 25, 2014 at 09:01 pm
What I should have written is ...."Most people who believe in it, would be on the same side asRead More I"....in normal times, without the current alarmists
Guy Meyer January 9, 2014 at 11:19 pm
It's really hard to imagine how anyone can believe this and other large scale construction projectsRead More along highway 101 have any benefit whatsoever for the citizens of this community. We have to say no and the people of California have to demand a completely fresh look at the unlimited growth concept of even our civilization. Survival is another word for sustainability. Quality of life is an issue that we need to embrace completely as an inherent right and duty of it's citizens to protect and defend. State mandated growth or even wealthy developer mandated growth is no longer acceptable.
Richard Hall January 10, 2014 at 06:18 pm
I've just learned Win Cup 2.0 is now on it's way through the Corte Madera Planning commission. 100Read More units.
Patti January 13, 2014 at 08:57 am
Thank you Richard for your work on this. Let them build the freeways first. Then we can discuss moreRead More apartments. This will give us another ten years to think about the wisdom of our actions.
Leading Marin to Ruin
Al Dugan January 3, 2014 at 10:27 am
Richard, well done. Bob Silvestri, above, as usually has comment so perfectly I can only second hisRead More post.
Kevin Moore January 3, 2014 at 11:52 am
When politicos say, "Don't worry, not all 920 units will be built", it seems obvious thatRead More I should worry the number of units is at 920.
Bill Gleason February 23, 2014 at 09:52 pm
Got to consider how to get the County out of ABAG and how to get it redesigned as suburban ratherRead More than metropolitan. The latter would give us significant influence on local control. Our state rep Marc Levine has introduced a bill to initiate this change in Marin. Google him and check that out and support him - but only on the basis he hotly pursues this. Levin is running for reelection and could win or lose on this issue if we get behind him, and him behind us. Sure there are some costs to leaving ABAG, our "leaders" have accepted the up-front funds that may have to be repaid. These federal offerings are very similar to the fed funds that were "given" to Cal for high-speed rail. The state grabs the fed's $8 billion and puts us in debt for 88 billion or whatever it may eventually be.
SB743 does not apply to Marin
John Parnell December 16, 2013 at 02:26 pm
Now that you've pointed out why our low population protects us, I'm sure Supervisors Judy ArnoldRead More & Steve Kinsey will try to sign us up for it anyway. Look for them to sneak something into the consent calendar, like they did with their attempted San Quentin PDA last year.
Stephen Nestel December 24, 2013 at 07:00 am
I am with John, I am not certain that the Supervisors won't be lining up at the trough forRead More "special consideration" that Sb743 apply to Marin since we are part of "One Bay Area" now.
Santa's new transport mode is slower than his sleigh
Stephen Nestel December 18, 2013 at 06:05 pm
Santa will have an easier time next year. He currently lives at the North Pole way outside theRead More urban growth boundary suitable for human habitation. The North Pole is now part of the Wildlands Corridor and off limits for any human activity. Our benevolent "Government" generously is paying Mr and Mrs Claus to relocate in one of the Transit Orient Developments near the light rail station. Not all of his elves will be joining him however, since their skills are needed in other industries and regions. Santa will be allowed to telecommute and will be encouraged to create presents from non polluting industries like smartphone apps. Ms. Claus will love her new neighborhood too. She will have work at the Windows 8 complaint desk, where her charm and kind manners will be an asset dealing with angry customers.
Al Dugan December 18, 2013 at 08:17 pm
Richard, world class satire. Well done.
Nancy Lowry December 20, 2013 at 12:50 am
If you really care stop eating meat! To reduce Greenhouse gas emissions give the burger a rest.Read More Really the biggest effect on the environment, by far. To add: The whole housing element is a big push from the corporations who make money to build these highway side boxes. Yuk! Who wants to live in these money making apartments. No taxes for schools!
High density trumps traffic considerations
Franz Listen December 13, 2013 at 03:27 pm
The spirit and purpose of CEQA is to require projects to disclose their impacts on the environment.Read More It was never intended to make real estate development impossible. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The criticism of CEQA (that it is too onerous and a full employment act for planners and lawyers) is especially strong on the political right. They tend to support just about any attempt to water it down. That's why 10 out of 11 GOP State Senators supported SB 743 and why there were 2 GOP co-sponsors of Steinberg's bill. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Many Democrats agree that CEQA can go too far. They don't criticize it in the whole but do sometimes see it as excessive when development is proposed on already disturbed "greyfield" sites rather than "greenfield" sites. Dems supported this bill 22-4 in the Senate; strong, but not as strong as the GOP. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ CEQA streamlining does not represent "corruption". There is a sizable movement state-wide to make it simpler and less burdensome. Parking has already been mostly ditched as a CEQA issue. Outside of California, CEQA is routinely flayed ( by the political right) as an example of California's proclivity toward anti-business overregulation. Seeing some folks on the political right in Marin cry about CEQA streamlining is the pinnacle of irony. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ This bill won't have much impact on development in Marin. Of all the things that effect a developer's pro forma and determine whether a project pencils out or not, relief from one small portion of an EIR document is trivial.
David Baird December 15, 2013 at 07:49 pm
Richard, I only mention Facebook because I get David E's blog updates there. I'm a big fan of bothRead More your work. Getting your thoughts out is always a challenge, but Patch seems to work for you. Lot's of debate occurring on social networks like that new neighborhood based 'Nextdoor'. Your writing is the best I've seen.
Jon Kragh March 25, 2014 at 10:06 am
I was curious who are the biggest donors to Darrell Steinberg's campaign funds (the author of SBRead More 743) and I was not surprised to see that they are all involved in the building industry and will benefit from building a 920 housing complex in Larkspur landing: 2010 In 2010, Steinberg raised $1,194,130 in contributions.[8] His five largest contributors were: Donor Amount Southwest Regional Council Of Carpenters $15,600 California Building Industry Association $15,172 Operating Engineers Local 3 $12,000 Electrical Workers Local 11 $8,400 State Building & Construction Trades Council Of California $8,400 Thank You Richard for writing this article and making us all aware of the reasons behind this housing project that does seem to be in the best interests of Marin residents. We need to maintain 'local control' over development and not allow Sacramento politicians dictate our housing policies and quality of life.
Marin 2020?
Michael D. Smith February 15, 2014 at 12:43 am
I agree with derrpa. San Francisco is going to become less and less car friendly and as it doesRead More folks in Marin will wonder why they allowed themselves to stay stuck in the dark ages. We lived in Vancouver B.C. very similar to San Francisco in density and available land. As people within the city got sicker and sicker of the bridge and tunnel crowds cars the city just made it near impossible for outside folks to drive in. Parking spaces are almost non-existent and if you can find street parking you better not let the meter run out because they will tow you within 5 minutes and I"m not exaggerating. Tow trucks roam the streets. We had a downtown parking space we owned and we sold it for $100,000.00 U.S. dollars. Two years later I'm told it would go for $150,000.00. San Francisco isn't going to be interested in making accommodations for Marin's lifestyle and ego.
derrpa February 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm
Thanks Michael D. Smith! Glad to see someone knows whats going on! Richard states Marin is nothingRead More but a suburb all the time! A suburb of San Francisco! I'm on curbed SF every other week and see all these new developments and high rise condos being built over all the commuter lots south of market! Ed Lee is pushing for faster growth! All the lots are going to disappear at an accelerated pace by changing zone or whatever they can to build more. People will have to take public transit because San Francisco will demand it! I'm for high density in Marin! There has been plenty of new construction in Marin all the time! We just don't see it because of the mcmansions being built up in the hills. Plenty of remodels that have doubled square feet. The high density gets so much attention because its visible to everybody. So I see it to be unfair so discriminate against apartments and let single family resident construction get no heat from these people. Especially when they bring up water etc...
Michael D. Smith February 19, 2014 at 06:18 pm
Don't despair derrpa. This mindset that seems to be pervading Marin is short lived. San Francisco isRead More enticing the tech companies into the city. As more and more take up office space within the city instead of south of the city, Marin will become more of an option for these younger, progressive mindsets. They will sell their stock options and buy homes in Marin and that will start changing the demographic quickly. This demographic is going to want more density, not only because of housing demand but because they are going to also demand a more progressive lifestyle be afforded them. Marin also has the room for real estate prices to rise that will also make it appealling. With tiny houses in the city now starting to approach 2 million Marin is going to actually look like an affordable option for these high wage earners. You mentioned that you keep up with Curb. Well, they featured a 1,100 square foot, post-war dump the other day sitting on a meager 2,700 square foot lot in Palo Alto. The list price was 1 million. It went into a bidding war and fetched 1.6 million. 1.6 million for a tear down and a tiny, 2700 square foot lot. Even the children who grew up in Marin and are now young adults that can't afford to live here don't want this anymore. Marin is going to basically have 2 types of lifestyles to offer. If you are VERY rich you will have a big house on a big lot. If you are not, you will be living in higher density. You'll be able to have your Marin lifestyle but either you will pay dearly for it or you will have it in North. Far, far North!
The Sustainability Spin Decoder
Stephen Nestel December 1, 2013 at 08:52 am
Franz, I must apologize, I responded to your "high end", "low end" comment asRead More being elitist. I am sure you are a perfectly nice person and meant no ill will. I stand by the comment that most "Smart Growth" claims ARE elitist and nothing more than a small group of people pressing their values on the rest of us. They come up words like "sprawl" to demonize our chosen lifestyle and attack our single family homes as "banal" while they want to create their own banal faux Victorian styled "Disneylandia" of their own designs to replace our mid century neighborhoods. They claim we are "isolationist and lack community" but fail to acknowledge our independence and well established communities. They are at War with the Suburbs. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Franz, In another post you attacked Richard for talking about coming innovations in transportation that you find unrealistic. I ask you to check out these innovations. Each promises to alleviate traffic and pollution and are in development now. http://www.savemarinwood.org/2013/11/interesting-videos-from-web-whales-and.html
Jimmy Fishbob Geraghty December 16, 2013 at 01:27 pm
Here is another take on innovations in transportation,Read More http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/driving-sideways/ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The problem is the disconnect from reality we face. Defensive posturing about lifestyles doesn't help the discussion about choice. It is not an either or situation. Franz Listen opens the discussion and moves us away from the rhetoric and false opposites. The more we move away from the extremists that pound the drums of Agenda 21 and attacks on sustainability the better off we are as a community. At that point we create space to actually have a discussion about the important aspects of planning and making accommodations for the natural growth of our town and cities while curbing increased use of single occupancy vehicles and expanding transportation choices and opportunities. We already know we need to reduce senseless driving.
Richard Hall December 16, 2013 at 07:35 pm
Jimmy - it is refreshing and remarkable to hear you advocate the need for a discussion away fromRead More rhetoric, false opposites, attacks and instead focus on important aspects of planning. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The good news is that Marin is growing at a very slow rate. A rate that we can easily accommodate with second units and conversions without resorting to radical, unproven and highly undesirable approaches such as high density development. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Attempting to curb the market's demand for single occupancy vehicles means that you face an uphill struggle that I hope my taxes aren't wasted on. Just check out this graph, you'll find it sobering! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ http://tinyurl.com/graph-work
The Housing Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Michael D. Smith March 23, 2014 at 11:09 am
John, another typical trait of Tea Party types.....painting themselves as victims.Read More "Attacked" oh please. I get it that in order to justify being a perpetrator you need to paint yourself as a victim but you are really stretching it aren't you? Oh, so you voted for Obama twice. So what? The proof of what you are is in your own rhetoric. All of you use the same terminology, buzz words, catch phrases that were coined by the Tea Party. Also many of your "leaders" have been shown to have connections to these organizations. When something looks, acts and smells like something it usually is that something. Who did I vote for? Well, Obama of course but my actions speak far louder than who I cast my vote for. As one of the leaders of the British Columbia American expatriate movement to stop Proposition 8. A person who has appeared in documentaries, done national radio shows and has spoke at many rallies up and down the west coast on the subject, you can only imagine how liberal I am. You can also imagine that through that issue alone I can smell Tea Party types a mile away. I think that those of your movement are counting on the fact that many Marinites are so sophisticated and are so sheltered from these types of folks that they would never make the connections. I'm here to make sure the connections are pointed out.
Dave Robertson March 23, 2014 at 11:02 pm
MDS: You sound like you are incredibly full of yourself. It isn't an attractive quality to actRead More that way. Voting for Obama is nothing to be proud of - and I certainly am not for doing so. He is an inexperienced, self-centered, egotistical clown. He has turned this county and the presidency into a joke and should be impeached for his actions. I say this not as liberal or conservative. Bad is bad - no matter what your politics are.
Michael D. Smith March 25, 2014 at 09:29 am
Yes Dave I'm full of myself, I think they call it self-actualized. It's much better than what youRead More are full of. It's obvious you're not very bright so you turn to your put downs in the style that most people who suffer from low self worth resort to. That's the problem with you and those like you, you suffer from some kind of syndrome where you hate everything that is above you and everything you believe that is beneath you. Well, your misery isn't caused by anything that is "out there" it's caused by what is what is within you. You can ban together all day long with those who suffer from the same malady and try to keep those you blame your "issues" on out of your sight but I warn you that it will only leave you with that which you truly loathe. Thank you for your Archie Bunker style psychoanalysis Dave, it was rather quant and at least you've finally found someone outside the trailer park you can practice on. I'm sure I'll see you at some point on TV or Youtube leading one of those "the president is from Kenya" or "them people need to learn to speak Amurcun" rallies. We used to love to watch those things when we lived in Vancouver. You know, that city with one of the highest denisties in N. America whose citizens enjoy a quality of life that is consitently rated as being one of the highest in the world? That place with socialized medicine and who's population is rated as much healthier than American's? Of course you don't know.
The future of transportation
Richard Hall December 13, 2013 at 07:02 am
I remember the Maginot Line - don't need to look that up - part of the cause of the fall of France.Read More Beaten by the Schlieffen Plan!
Clayton Smith December 13, 2013 at 06:02 pm
Great article on the future of transportation! The Power Elite has little to no interest in theRead More general welfare of our community. What they want is dominance and control and the highest level of obedience they can squeeze out of us, while still leaving enough creativity in our society to solve future problems as they arise. Stack and pack is an integral part of the Soft Fascist paradigm we are living in. Just like the Military/Industrial/Congressional/Finance Complex makes great and nearly risk free profits producing to destroy those who do not obey the dictates of the New World Order, so the Big Developer/Legislative/Finance Complex looks to make their own outsized risk free profits producing real estate developments that tear down what people want to live in and replace it with the dreck our political masters would have us live in. As I pointed out at one of the Housing Element meetings in Mill Valley, there are two places where people both live and work: one is a prison and the other is a concentration camp. (Not that there is much difference between the two.) The establishment's lack of interest in truly solving our circulation issues may be telling us something about their future plans concerning our being mobile at all. The kind of civilization we (the majority of the 99 percent) all hope to live in may be at un-reconcilable odds with what these control freaks, grifters, and self-righteous psychopaths have in mind for us.
Richard Hall January 7, 2014 at 11:54 am
Audi announces self-driving car at CES:Read More http://www.ctvnews.ca/autos/ces-2014-this-audi-drives-itself-so-why-can-t-we-buy-one-1.1626829 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "The prototype period is almost over," Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the board at Audi for technical development, told the audience.
The trolley plan to save the planet
Clayton Smith November 14, 2013 at 05:47 pm
You got it Bob! It's just another excuse to densify. In the meantime, they can have us offRead More exhausting ourselves fighting this dumb idea, while they are out working their agenda behind closed doors up at the Civic Center.
Franz Listen November 15, 2013 at 04:38 pm
If Groningen is being held up as a model over Bern, let me point out that over 50% of trips inRead More Groningen are made by bike. This has everything to do with biking being safe. As Pat Ravasio said, we have tremendous room for improvement in Marin, and not all bike/ped projects are as pricey as the Alto Tunnel. Bike mode share is rising, so an improved bike infrastructure is "swimming with the flow" +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ While apps are hot, carpooling is not. Over the last 30 years, no mode of transportation has seen a bigger decline than carpooling. It's ironic to argue for the futility of getting people out of their own cars, while calling for more carpooling, no? And what new carpooling incentives, exactly? How much would that cost the taxpayers? For what benefit? Carpool incentives >>> ? >>>Save the Planet? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Lower transit fares for the poor are a laudable goal, but it won't come cheap. Each year, transit in the Bay Area generates over $800M. If a discount for the poor (which is a big chunk of people who ride transit) resulted in a 10% revenue loss, it would leave an $80M hole for taxpayers to fill -or big cuts in transit service. Over 10 years, with escalation, the cost of a 10% discount would exceed a billion dollars. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Even if the liability issues are overcome, I think that we're a very long way from autonomous cars using communication systems to chain-up. If that ever happens, roads could become safer and more efficient. That would be good. However, I think there's a growing constituency that want more from transportation investments than just processing cars more efficiently. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I don't favor Allan Nichols's trolley idea for a variety of reasons. However,if we're trying to keep up with Groningen we might want to reconsider. They're planning a trolley system.
Randy Warren November 15, 2013 at 05:19 pm
Franz, if I somehow conveyed I don't support bike transportation let me clear that up now! TwoRead More wheels, with or without motor, is the best answer. People should not be traveling solo in yachts. And I do believe your claim that 50% of Groningen trips are by bike. Holland is a bicyclist's paradise. Not sure, however, about your Bay Area transit numbers. I presume that $800M is gross income rather than profit. If the transit presently operates at a deficit, the discount you propose would be an ADDITIONAL $80M hole. Having said that, I think that is worth exploring because the discount only comes into play if people are truly using the transit. In contrast, unSMART is already designed to operate at a huge loss irrespective of ridership.
Support Urbanization - Lose Your Seat
Susan Kirsch November 6, 2013 at 10:27 am
Great analysis, Richard. BTW, on 12/4 Dick Spotswood will be talking about the outcomes and trendsRead More of Marin election at the monthly meeting of the Marin Coalition, 11:30-1:30 at Chalet Basque in San Rafael. Come and share points of view! For ticket info: www.marincoalition.com
Linda Pfeifer November 6, 2013 at 10:34 am
Excellent analysis, Richard. Thank you for doing the research, connecting the dots, and laying outRead More the facts.
Richard Hall November 6, 2013 at 06:17 pm
The theme of opposition to high density housing (sold to us with the sticker "affordableRead More housing" to make it more palatable) seems to be failing across the Bay Area. For instance: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- in San Francisco Measure B failed http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/san_francisco&id=9315343 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In Palo Alto similar housing deemed to be too high density failed: http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_24462926/early-tally-shows-measure-d-senior-housing-project
The Real San Rafael Election Guide
Judy Schriebman November 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm
Another insightful post by Richard Hall. Also worth noting that Randy Warren would be the onlyRead More candidate currently running that lives in the 94903 area--we need more representation for this side of San Rafael.
Susan Kirsch November 4, 2013 at 01:24 pm
If I lived in San Rafael, I'd vote for Randy Warren.
Kevin Moore November 5, 2013 at 09:52 am
Good to see Randy Warren signs while driving around. He has my vote.
Do we need to revisit rules for cyclists?
Kevin Moore October 22, 2013 at 11:55 am
Bicycle riders should follow the law. I would agree to adopting the law that bikes can travel at 5Read More mph though stop signs if there are no other traffic. So many cars slow, but don't stop at stop signs. Bike riders that "blow through" stop signs at a high rate of speed are idiots and eventually the odds or police will catch up to them. I bought an inexpensive dashcam, but it broke. I am going to get another as there are too many idiots on the road and it might help with a lawsuit. Or be fun to post on YouTube.
Kevin Moore October 22, 2013 at 11:58 am
If I am sitting at a stop sign and see a bicycle rider approaching, I will sit the few extra secondsRead More and wave them on through. A few seconds really costs me very little and I know it takes some effort to get back up to speed. Plus, I don't know if the approaching bike rider is one of those idiots that will not brake as they go through the stop sign. I'd rather make their day better and not have to deal with someone flying over the hood of my truck. I'm the same with pedestrians. I expect them to do something stupid, like step off the curb without looking outside the crosswalk.
Wanna buy a train?
David Edmondson October 22, 2013 at 11:13 am
@Kevin - Regarding the single-track: Under the current configuration 30 minute headways are theRead More maximum, but one needn't double-track everything to do better. 15 minute headways are possible with more sidings, and the Puerto Suello tunnel doesn't need to be one of those segments. Regarding traffic: think Caltrain, which has many grade crossings through much more high-traffic.
Kevin Moore October 22, 2013 at 11:14 am
SMART is headed for trouble in San Rafael. Since the station is not elevated, the trains will turnRead More the downtown area into a traffic nightmare. Every morning, I see a long line of cars waiting to get off the Central San Rafael freeway. There isn't enough capacity for traffic now. Add in trains going by 4 times an hour and it will be much much worse. The proper way to run the train through downtown San Rafael is on an elevated track with a station that is one the second story level. But the money is not there to properly build the tracks and station. We will probably do an expensive "Do over" in the future. I blame this on the overly optimistic Prop Q, which will not properly fund this rail system.
Kevin Moore October 22, 2013 at 01:52 pm
Downtown is marginal already, even without the train. I look at what vehicles are exiting and manyRead More look to be commercial trucks and vans. Before building a terminal, the planners need to run some simulated trains through the downtown area. The Sprinter in San Diego has elevated sections to avoid heavy traffic areas.
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