The Supervisors Priority of Convenience: Climate Change

On December 31st 2014 the Marin IJ posted an article: Starting 2015: A Chance to Reboot Priorities that shared that the Marin County supervisors have decided “Topping their list are local priorities aimed at climate change”. My response – how very very convenient for a group of people with an agenda of rapid development and pet transit projects such as extending SMART. I ask, why isn’t one of the following the #1 priority: Dealing with the unfunded pension crisis Dealing with increasing traffic & congestion (an issue affecting the most people, with SMART Sonoma County is planning 25,888 new housing units, placing even more burden on highway 101) Drought (we may have rain now, but we are in a long term extreme drought) Dealing with / helping the  homeless If the #1 Priority is Climate Change Why Don’t Agendas Align With This? If climate change is indeed the supervisors #1 priority then we should expect the Marin IJ article and the supervisor’s focus to be about the #1 method of abating greenhouse gases according to Marin County’s own Climate Action Plan Update: Promoting the use of solar panels. However far better to tie the #1 priority to a “sounds right” we have to fight climate change to save the planet policy, and not mention solar panels. Why? Because then the supervisors can tie their favorite projects du jeur to priority #1 – climate change – and many uninformed sheeple will go along with it. Just look at the county’s own draft climate action plan analysis of how we can make the biggest difference to climate change and assess if they are...
Moving the Goalposts: Marin Climate Action Plan

Moving the Goalposts: Marin Climate Action Plan

The Marin County Climate Action Plan 2014 Draft Update raises many questions. Recently I submitted a freedom of information act request to which I received this response (zip file). The Climate Action Plan proposes that Marin can reduce CO2 emissions by making a major push to switch travelers from cars and light trucks (known as light duty vehicles or LDVs) to transit. This is predicated on transit emissions being lower than cars – but if this foundational math isn’t correct the plan falls apart. Planning for Reality has major questions about this – if the county adds additional transit as proposed then the result is not a reduction in CO2 but more likely an increase for the following reasons: Expanding Transit Reduces Average Ridership: The most frequently used peak time arterial routes are already well served by Golden Gate Transit buses and ferries. Expanding transit as proposed by the plan will result in adding more routes at shoulder periods. This will have the effect of reducing ridership, reducing emissions per passenger mile. Omitting Consideration of Advances in Car Emissions: The Climate Action Plan does not appear to be sufficiently considering enacted CAFE (54.5mpg by 2025) and Low Carbon Fuels legislation. Planning for Reality believes that in the future – cars will emit less per passenger mile than transit. The Marin Climate Action Plan 2014 Draft Update  was prepared by outside consultants ICF. The county is spending in excess of $100,000 on this engagement (if you know the exact amount please do let Planning for Reality know, it’s surely out there somewhere). Expanding Transit, Yet Average Ridership Doesn’t Drop The...
Powerpoint Slides from Nov 13th Citizen Marin Presentation

Powerpoint Slides from Nov 13th Citizen Marin Presentation

Many of you have inquired about obtaining my presentation from the recent Citizen Marin event held on November 13th at San Rafael City Hall. Here is the presentation in both pdf and ppt format: Powerpoint Presentation (pdf) >> Powerpoint Presentation (ppt) >> Note: You may use the slides on websites and presentations on condition that you credit the source as follows: “Created by Richard Hall,...
The Richmond Bridge Bike Path – A Bridge too Far?

The Richmond Bridge Bike Path – A Bridge too Far?

While acknowledging that bicycle infrastructure is behind the curve and merits increased expenditure, we are seeing bike path projects where expenditures have been getting out of hand. Transportation funding is dwindling, the SMART train already diverted $11.4m of funding earmarked to solve congestion at the 101 Greenbrae interchange. Thanks to highly effective bicycle lobbyists and “transit oriented development” Marin’s commuters face another diversion of transportation funding.  The Cal Park tunnel  project works out at a cost of $675,000 to remove one car from our roads. That’s quite an extraordinary expense.  And we now look set to follow this boondoggle with another bike path costing even more over the Richmond San Rafael Bridge. The Cal Park Tunnel – the $27m Bikers Boondoggle SF Streetsblog, a pro-cycling and TOD site, reports: After 17 years of planning, the Cal Park tunnel will open to Marin County cyclists today, providing a shorter, safer route between San Rafael and the Larkspur Ferry for an estimated 800,000 riders a year. The 1.1-mile project includes class 1 bike lanes to connect the 1,106-foot bore with Sir Francis Drake Boulevard on the south and Anderson Road in San Rafael So how much did the project cost? The initial estimate was $3m but by completion the cost had ballooned to $27m. Claim: 800,000 Annual Riders. Reality: 40 an Hour at Peak It’s claimed that tunnel will be used by 800,000 riders a year –  a seemingly enormous number. This translates to 2,191 riders today if the claim is to be believed. Consider for perspective that the population of Marin is only 258,365 according to the latest US Census figures....