Monday, April 14, 2014

Transit-oriented growth and the SMART[sic] train development scheme


From Richard Hall's Marin County blog, Planning for Reality:

Transportation funding mandates future substantial growth

To attain the targeted funding, the SMART[Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit] train has to increase development the length of the line to attain an average of 2,200 housing units within ½ mile of each station, the real agenda for “station area plans” where the title deceivingly doesn’t reference that they are really camouflaged plans to increase housing.

An area like Larkspur that experiences organic growth through development outside the immediate area cannot seek funding without committing to more growth.

The transportation funding presumes that the new residents will take transit. However:

* In Larkspur the ferries are at or near capacity, no more ferry crossings can be added due to a legal settlement to prevent wakes and protect the environment.

* In Larkspur few residents will use the train to go north; the nearest major employment center is San Francisco.

* Larkspur is in a suburban, not an urban, setting where it is more likely that the new residents will drive to get to work, take their children to school or to go on a shopping trip with heavy shopping.

* Some might argue we entered into this Ponzi scheme when voters adopted SMART. But this was all cleverly concealed by slick marketing claiming that the train was the answer to 101 congestion.

By accepting the MTC[Metropolitan Transportation Commission] grant money Larkspur has entered a TOD[transit oriented development] pyramid scheme where it will endlessly have to increase urbanization to catch up with and address transportation capacity issues. The new money will not be focused on Larkspur’s most acute problems---traffic and parking---but instead vainly hope that the new residents won’t drive.

Ultimately this is all about SMART and MTC getting their grant money by ensuring there are 2,200 housing units within ½ mile of each SMART station. This is not about solving problems---it’s a Ponzi scheme all about money and regional agencies increasing the money they receive from federal grants that increases their influence, staff and executives' paychecks...

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10 Comments:

At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did you choose this picture? Looks like a bunch of cars with people in them, driving around. Is that bad?

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The picture is from Richard Hall's Marin County blog, from which this is excerpted.

 
At 6:12 PM, Anonymous sfthen said...

Dick Spotswood seems to always have a good deal of insight into the Marin County backstories, in this case SMART Bucks.

 
At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me the picture suggests that while cars, considered individually, give people a lot of freedom and autonomy, but in the aggregate, have undesirable externalities like smog and congestion. In other words, my car is great, but other peoples' cars..maybe not so much. So let's make sure that we don't build any more housing, since that leads to other peoples' not-so-great cars around us.

 
At 10:18 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"So, why did he and you choose it? Something wrong with cars on a road?"

No, moron. He's writing about Marin County, and this is a picture of an approach in Marin to Highway 101. Got it?

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"So let's make sure that we don't build any more housing, since that leads to other peoples' not-so-great cars around us.

Another moronic comment from the same guy who's obsessed with the picture? So it's a choice between massive, out-of-scale developments like Win Cup in Corte Madera or not building any more housing?

 
At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No, moron. He's writing about Marin County, and this is a picture of an approach in Marin to Highway 101. Got it?"

It's a beautiful picture of people enjoying driving in beautiful Marin. Not sure why anyone would have a problem with it, but at the same time curious what it might mean to you.

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Dick Spotswood seems to always have a good deal of insight into the Marin County backstories, in this case SMART Bucks."

Right. Trains and bikes will take care of Highway 101 congestion. You bike Nazis like trains because they aren't cars, which makes them almost as cool as bikes, right? Alas, trains like the SMART system won't carry anywhere near enough people to have an impact on 101; and they are very expensive to build and maintain, which taxpayers in Marin and Sonoma are learning. They will have to pay for the chronic cost overruns while the system is built and then for the expensive maintenance of the boutique train system after it's built.

Bikes are essentially irrelevant in Marin, except as a recreational accessory for mountain bikers as they go about trashing Marin's watershed.

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Summing up this post:

"Dense housing is bad. Here is a picture of some cars waiting for a red light, for some reason. Also, bikes are at fault for accidents, which is another reason why dense housing is bad."

 
At 12:00 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Pretty clear why you're anonymous.

 

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