News Pointer September 7-13, 1988
One point of view
DWAYNE HUNN Community Contributor
The 101 Corridor Committee has been meeting since 1986. It is now finalizing cost estimates for either rail/highway or bus/ highway construction that will take the 101 corridor into the 21st century. Their consultants’ estimates show rail/highway having higher capital but lower operating costs. The bus/highway has lower capital but higher operating costs. The result is that both are estimated to cost about $1 billion dollars. That money could be obtained by ratifying a 1 cent sales tax in Marin and a 1/2 cent sales tax in Sonoma.
Chief consultant to the 101 Corridor Study, Bob Harrison, succinctly sums up years of research and discussion when he says, “The costs are about the same. What’s important is how you want the corridor to develop In the future.”
Three reasons make me hope the train/highway option is our choice.
1) By continuing to over-rely on the automobile, America disregards good logic that tells us to not rely on Middle East oil and to seriously begin dealing with our atmospheric degradation., Carbon dioxide produced by the internal combustion engine is one of the big villains in destroying our ozone level.
2)America should lead, not be led, in the high tech manufacturing areas of the 21st century. The United States not just, Japan, France and Disneyland, ought to be noted for effective, efficient long-lasting trains..
3) Marin is one of America’s most beautiful counties. From almost anywhere in the county, one can ride his/her bike for five minutes and be in open space agricultural reserve or a national park. Only a little of the 19% of land that can be developed remains to be developed, and much of that land lies adjacent to the101 right-of-way and just happens to butt up to the North West Pacific right-of-way. Already apartments, business centers, and residential units are planned along the eastern side of Marin’s portion of the 101 corridor that runs from San Rafael to points further north.
Many argue that we should stop all that development. In America that means buying the land at fair market value, which is not feasible. Many argue that we should downzone what is proposed — reducing tax revenues for the involved cities and forcing the prices of the allowable homes up even higher. This produces
more suburban sprawl and continues our over-reliance on the automobile.
Hopefully, Marin will not be burdened with years of debates and delaying tactics over how the eastern portion of 101 should be developed, it only delays the needed tax revenues, allows project costs to escalate and continues the inefficiencies that long commutes promote.
What is planned by developers of the eastern portion of 101 are a series of development “pockets.” Can this development movement be joined Into something that is positive for all concerned?
Yes, with some coordination. These pockets could be developed in a Mariner that would fall within the efficient land use patterns that are proposed by Sausalito architect Peter’ Calthorpe in his “Pedestrian Pockets.” Such development could also serve as the start for pocket developments all the way up the existing railroad line.
Calthorpe’s “Pedestrian Pockets” call for dense, mixed use development within a 1/4 mile of the railroad right-of-way with, large open spaces surrounding the development. A series of such developments through Marin and Sonoma’ would allow increased opportunities for people to live and~ work at one of the mini-neighborhood pockets. This would increase the likelihood that they would hop a train to go to and from work, as well as to shop and socialize. The proposal Is so logical, efficient and sensible that it is bound to cause debates, arguments and lost opportunities.
Dwayne Hunn is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canal Community Alliance and’ is Assistant Executive Director of Novato Ecumenical Housing.