When TOD is a Square Peg for a Round Hole

When TOD is a Square Peg for a Round Hole

More than 4 years after the San Rafael city council voted to make Civic Center a PDA the city published an analysis. The analysis seems to suggest  Civic Center is a square peg and the PDA categorization a round hole. The Civic Center PDA designation is set to apply a fast growth planning philosophy to Terra Linda, turning it into Northgate City with multiple 5 story high density apartment blocks on both sides of 101. The PDA targets the ½ mile area around Civic Center station on both the Northgate and Civic Center sides of 101. Currently there are 1,065 homes, most single family, in this area. However, with the MTC Station Area Planning Manual PDA designation of “transit town center” the council has set a goal of packing in up to 7,500 housing units – a seven fold increase. Residents have turned out in number repeatedly expressing their opposition in planning and council meetings – but at almost every turn up until now their concerns have been dismissed and they have been told not to worry as in future the same process will protect them. PDA Benefits – a Vegas Gamble with Distant Odds of Success The Civic Center PDA is a designation made by the city in the hope of receiving transportation funding from Plan Bay Area. Clearly if the city receives funding that is close to or matches the costs needed by the city to support the proposed development the PDA designation may be worthwhile. However the funding amounts are unclear and uncommitted. To achieve just the initial 620 housing unit capacity (not the full 7,500 unit build-out) –...