Solutions: Google Waze and Self Driving, Chaining Cars

Solutions: Google Waze and Self Driving, Chaining Cars

Transportation planning in the Bay Area is doubling-down on investing in transit, despite massive investments since the 1980s leading to a drop in per capita ridership. Why impose inconvenient solutions when the valley is already several steps ahead? I’m often accused of being negative on any transit projects – but anyone who actually reads my articles will see that I am only negative about ineffective solutions, and I am constantly seeking out and discovering new, much more effective solutions. On Thursday I was at a technology conference in Redwood City where the future for our congested freeways became much clearer. Instead of sinking money into cost ineffective projects like the SMART train, and possibly trolleys, we need to recognize that the car has become the transportation method of choice over the last 50 years through it’s convenience. Transit simply cannot match the convenience of going door to door without changing travel modes, waiting, putting in buffer time, missing connections… However our freeways are becoming increasingly clogged. Transit advocates would have us abandon our cars, investing billions in trains and trolleys  – not recognizing that we live in the area making the most groundbreaking strides in transportation technology. Waze – Load Balancing Road Networks At the conference I attended a lady presented “Waze”. Waze is a mobile app that crowd-sources all the GPS locations of it’s users using a mobile phone app to understand the relative speeds and traffic congestion across road networks. More than that – it proactively informs Waze users when congestion strikes, suggesting alternate routes. Waze was just bought by Google for an estimated $1.3 billion. It’s being used by ABC’s local...
The Housing Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The Housing Revolution Will Not Be Televised

      The housing revolution will not be televised –  if developers have anything to do with it there will be no communications occurring at all. You will wake up in your Eichler or single family home to find the single family home in the lot next door to you being demolished, to be replaced by an apartment block. You will say in exasperation “no one ever told me” and “how do I complain?” but all modes of communication and channels of input will have been cut off. Why is this Happening? Yes. We have a perfect storm. Developers are joining forces with transportation advocates fixated on “transit oriented development” (apartment blocks near transit) and the social equity lobby (everyone has the right to a home in Marin). Then there’s HUD – the US Department of Housing and Urban Development which is looking at counties like Marin and Westchester, NY with an aim to address a perceived racial imbalance caused by over-building of single family homes (amongst other factors). Thanks to politicians such as Darrell Steinberg, leader of the California State Senate,  laws and processes are slowly but steadily being introduced that remove any impediments to the scenario outlined in the opening paragraph – waking up to find a 5 story apartment building being built in the lot right next to you. (and wake up Larkspur – they have 920 units planned for you, and this is set to flood 101 with cars right at its biggest bottleneck – the Greenbrae interchange. That northbound evening crawl – well you ain’t seen nothin’ yet). How Are They Doing this? A number of changes are going...
Election Result: Support High Density – Lose Your Seat

Election Result: Support High Density – Lose Your Seat

Tuesday’s election results sent some major signals. Slow growth candidates dominated, even the one loss demonstrated a campaign donation multiplier effect. Tuesday’s election results echoed Marinites resounding opposition to high density housing. Fast growth candidates suffered losses: – Bruce Anderson, Marinwood CSD incumbent (supporter of Marinwood Plaza) – David Kunhardt, promoted density in Corte Madera – Steve Burdo of San Anselmo, formerly of Marin Grassroots, a group that advocated for Plan Bay Area and that tried to declare a state of emergency due to opposition to urbanization Meanwhile slow growth candidates suffered major, sometimes surprising, wins: – Justin Kai, a complete unknown before, won the race in Marinwood CSD – Diane Furst and Carla Condon won in Corte Madera – Doug Kelly in San Anselmo – Kevin Haroff in Larkspur San Rafael – the Donation Multiplier Effect In San Rafael Randy Warren came a respectable fourth in a race for two seats by four candidates. But his loss merits closer inspection. Compared to other Marin cities, San Rafael represents a fortress protected by the old guard and special interests. The electorate were bombarded by the following messaging: – Colin and Bushey Lang, the likely election winners, boasted a long list of endorsers from the old guard; they talked of their resumes which were essentially hibernation grounds for old guard candidates – the planning commission. They received considerable assistance from Chamber of Commerce members (signage placement, campaign donations). They shared endorsements from the IJ, planning commissioners, mayor and former mayor, Police and fire unions. For an apathetic voter skim reading and feeling San Rafael was being well run, but unaware of the pensions and creeping...