Novato Narrows Widened – Huge ROI Compared to Bike Paths

Novato Narrows Widened – Huge ROI Compared to Bike Paths

This coming Friday Caltrans is set to open up a new section of carpool lane northbound from Atherton Avenue/San Marin Drive exit to the Birkenstock warehouse, about 1.3 miles in length. This carpool lane will increase the capacity of 101 by 1,200 cars per hour – which at 1.67 occupants per hour (US DoT figure) and 3 hours of peak hour travel equates to 6,012 people getting where they need to go faster in that lane – not withstanding the additional congestion removed that speeds up the other lanes. This means $9m was spent helping 6,012 people = $1,497 per person Comparison to Bike Path ROI per Person Walk Bike Marin and the Nonmotorized Transportation Program identified three locations where $27.7m was spent to build bike (and pedestrian) paths. On average locations transport 53 riders an hour or 159 riders. This means $9.2m was spent helping 159 people = $58,071 per person This is 3,779% higher than the cost per person to improve 101 via a carpool lane. (although some of this was pedestrian so this gives bikes an unfairly low number) According to the Marin County Bicycle Coalition the total estimated cost for building Marin County’s complete bicycle and pedestrian network is over $100 million (Source). Comparison to SMART Here are the ingredient numbers. SMART will cost $1.2billion, at best using highly optimistic figures, it might transport 330 people daily. I’ll let readers do the math. Moral of the Story Our county supervisors and planners need to keep their eye on the ball and recognize that job #1 for dwindling, hard earned transportation funding is to move as many...
A Big Win for Marin County

A Big Win for Marin County

The June 3rd Marin County election resulted in Damon Connolly crushing a 12 year incumbent Supervisor Susan Adams – an immense achievement over adversity. Meanwhile Toni Shroyer came out of nowhere against a 20 year incumbent Judy Arnold and almost pipped her at the post (and in one erroneous TV report actually won). The Higher Level Takeaway of the Election Result As important as the individual win, and of this incredibly tight race in Novato, is the higher level takeaway: if you’re an elected then you promote high density housing in Marin at your peril, opponents vastly outnumber a small number of loud proponents. A Conversation with Congressmen Jared Huffman I also enjoyed an excellent conversation with Congressman Jared Huffman last night. Huffman shared with me that he thought the debate about Plan Bay Area and high density was irrelevant and people were missing the point – the relevant debate is about water – and there isn’t any. He correctly pointed out that WinCup replaced an industrial building that used more water, but foresaw that Larkspur Landing would not go through. To hear this from a senior Democrat was a very significant signal to me. I asked Huffman if he agreed with the concept that a given area had a “carrying capacity” – he agreed questioning ABAG’s population projections. Finally I asked Jared about California High Speed Rail – he is a supporter. Well there’s a reality check for me – the world isn’t perfect. But I’ll take his support of the water issues, carrying capacity and his foresight into the outcome of Larkspur Landing. A City and District...
Getting Answers from the County on Important Questions

Getting Answers from the County on Important Questions

Residents in many Marin neighborhoods have woken up to discover wholly remarkable turns of events where their area has been targeted for significant growth and high density development. I was just one such resident. The turn of events seemed to defy gravity (by defying neighborhood vision and consensus) – so I have been continuing to strive to understand what has happened, and how this can be rectified. On February 11th 2014 I presented the following questions to the Marin County Supervisors in open session. Nearly 2 months later I have yet to receive responses. I did receive a call from Supervisor Adams in February but she did not answer any of these questions that I believe are very important to our county’s future. I clarified this in an email and requested written responses. I am genuinely grateful to Supervisor Adams who has now referred the questions to legal counsel for a response. (Which is puzzling as I believe many should be easily answered by county planners and would immediately cause concerns and myths to cease circulating). Due to prior responses which have either been a failure to respond or obfuscation I felt it necessary to add “yes or no” to ensure that I would receive a direct answer before any elaboration. QUESTIONS 1)     Question – yes or no – is there anything in the Housing Element, zoning or associated amendments preventing a density of above 30 units per acre EITHER in specified opportunity locations, or elsewhere in unincorporated Marin? (for reference WinCup is 40 units per acre) 2)     Question  – What is the maximum density that could be built...