Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Transportation in Marin County

Richard Hall (click for larger view)

Richard Hall's comment to an Independent Journal story about a Marin County transportation tax:
Here's the simple way this tax has not been working. Rather than being extended or increased the tax should be stopped and TAM should be sent back to the drawing board to focus on what's actually needed to achieve their stated mission of relieving traffic

- voters are told the tax will relieve traffic congestion, this is what they want to hear and it manipulates them into supporting this deceiving voting measure

- most the money is siphoned off to serve special interests on little served preferred transportation modes such as bike and pedestrian projects

- some money is being siphoned away to help SMART, such as balancing SMART's budget. SMART as a project greatly worsens traffic congestion---it carries few passengers but rail crossings and transit center impacts cause substantial traffic delays.

As the diagram shows TAM disproportionately spends the money away from relieving congestion, and instead on bike, pedestrian and transit projects. Some of the bus projects like school buses can have a negligible impact on congestion, but spending money on bike paths while helping with safety for a small number of riders barely moves the traffic congestion needle.

In late 2016 the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) conducted a public survey to capture insight of where residents wanted transportation investment. A web link was published that was promptly shared on the Marin County Bicycle Coalition website, Facebook page and in email blasts---capturing a disproportionate and unrepresentative number of cyclists among the 3,800+ respondents.

The survey results were shared widely by TAM with county and cities to endorse plans with disproportionately high investments in safe routes to school and other bike and pedestrian projects.

Richard Hall's blog: Planning for Reality

Hall links an interesting study (Bicycle Use as Alternative Transportationabout the failure of commuting by bike in Santa Barbara.

Later: See also this Dick Spotswood column and the interesting debate in the comments to his column. Unlike San Francisco, Marin is having a real debate on its transportation system in the Independent Journal, though it's happening too late to stop the dumb SMART rail project.

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