Tag Archives: North Bay Transportation Management Association

10 questions for San Rafael

10 questions for San Rafael

 Editor’s note: On June 24th, 550 people attended a meeting of a new group, San Rafael 2000, to discuss .San Rafael’s General Plan. This is an edited version of a speech delivered by Dwayne Hunn, which he asked San Rafael 2000 consultants and the City of San Rafael “to provide some community insight and answers to 10 questions. “Here are the questions:

By Dwayne Hunn

  • Two of East San Rafael’s concerns are traffic and affordable housing. If the Kerner street property owners have paid their traffic mitigation fees and some of their money has undergrounded utilities, put in a pond, a bike path, and Shoreline Park, why hasn’t Kerner been connected to help alleviate congestion at intersections like Bellam and throughout East San Rafael?
  • The proposed Irene Street Overcrossing is estimated to cost over $22 million. The Grange Plan Overcrossing  is estimated at $4. million. Shouldn’t the Grange Plan be analyzed in detail to see if it can more quickly and efficiently address East San Rafael traffic needs?
  • Does the overpass proposed from Merrydale to the Civic Center Drive with no offramps onto 101 really serve to alleviate traffic snarls, or does it merely make shopping at the Emporium easier for those at the Civic Center?
  • Does reducing the floor area ratios of future projects really reduce traffic generation? If you reduce the building footprint that can stand on a piece of land to half of what some nice buildings now have– will future buildings. be built?  In certain years Phoenix Leasing has generated more in sales tax revenues to the City of San Rafael than has Macys. Will buildings like Phoenix Leasing that generate minimal traffic, huge traffic mitigation fees, and gigantic sales tax revenues to the City be built in the future on expensive San Rafael land when only 1/2 of the floor area ratio is allowed?
  • How can adequate child care facilities be tied into the East San Rafael neighborhood through the General Plan? Child care overflows into land use, traffic and circulation, and low cost housing needs — so picking a spot to plug that into the General Plan is imperative.
  • By being more successful than anticipated, Federal Express has been forced to close its counter at 3 p.m. Because its service is generating too much peak hour traffic. If Federal Express is generating 100 excessive peak hour vehicle trips per day– rather than closing them down couldn’t they have been required to assist SMART– the local jitney program–to generate 100 more peak hour riders per day? Shouldn’t the General Plan have measures that encourage businesses to find or assist with traffic solutions rather than merely hurting businesses?
  • How can a General Plan allow for senior developments only on flat land while seemingly allowing for all other housing needs to be answered on only flat land? Will not starting families and others with flat land housing wants have inherent conflicts with such excessively specific policy findings? Elderly housing projects almost inherently have transit systems built into them. Doesn’t this policy make providing affordable senior housing much more difficult in California’s to-be oldest median age county?
  • As the hub of the county, San Rafael must find a way to produce housing affordable for it workers. Where are the implementation tools to provide housing to those households earning $16,000 to $30,000 dollars, the household incomes of the bulk of San Rafael workers whose Sonoma commute adds to regional gridlock? Where are the implementing tools that will allow San Rafael workers to own homes at costs between $50,000 and $75,000? These prices can be reached, as households whose average income was $17,000 paid an average of $51,000 for NEH’s Skylark Meadows condo/ townhouses.
  • The problem lies in how we have become accustomed to moving around in a suburban arena while mass transit solutions were designed for the urban arena. Nonetheless, we have the transit modes to handle our problems. The range from buses, light rail vehicles, jitneys, motorized cable cars, to car pools. What we need are transit systems that are managed better for our suburban arena and our moving patterns. How will the General Plan encourage and stimulate better transit management solutions? How will the General Plan encourage entrepreneurs and private developers to answer the community’s need for more effective transit when funds for government to do so have vanished?

Thanks for your patience, like Moses you are probably grateful  there were only ten.

Dwayne Hunn is a board member of. North Bay Transportation Management Association and Canal Community  Alliance

NEH, NBTMA, County letters on Hamilton Proposed Development

Costal Post May 31, 1989

 Hamilton Housing And Jobs

 Based on an analysis of the Redevelop­ment dollars that the Hamilton project would generate and the state-mandated 20% minimum set aside for Affordable Housing which total $105 million, I have computed that by year five of the project up to 330 of the lowest salaried families (earning up to $20,000/year) could be receiving $250 per month rent assistance payment for up to 30 years. By year seven, a thousand local fami­lies will be eligible to receive that level of assistance and there will be sufficient funds to provide it.

NEH has recently assisted over 100 fami­lies to secure newly affordable housing in Novato. We have found displaced Novato families with young children will move back from Sonoma to Novato when they can be guaranteed as little as $250/month rent reduction/rent assistance.

Thus, the estimated worse case traffic figures in the EIR are very wrong. The back­ups, both a.m. and p.m., are based on an erroneous assumption that only 16% of the people will be living and working on site at Hamilton. Our analysis shows that over 50% of families working at Hamilton can and will live on site, especially if at least 50% of the first housing units built in phase One will not be generating the 101 peak hour traffic feared.

Additionally, our analysis shows that many of the newly created entry level jobs at Hamilton can and will be filled/held by spouses of active duty military personnel. These spouses will need neither new hous­ing nor will then need to get on the freeway to get to Hamilton—they will already be there at Capehart and Rafael Village. They can be at Hamilton without ever going onto any freeway as it exists or as improved by Berg-Revoir. The EIR did not adequately evaluate the traffic reducing impact of these available workers—already in affordable military housing—on site.


Novato Ecumenical Housing Novato

Traffic Impact Of The Hamilton


Letter to Dwayne Hunn

North Bay Transportation Management Association:

You have asked for a clarification of the County’s projections for the traffic impact of the proposed Hamilton project on High­way 101 as outlined on Page 9 of the County letter submitted to the Novato Planning Commission on September 12, 1988.

The morning queue of bumper to bumper traffic on Highway 101 currently backs up 6.8 miles from the bottleneck at Puerto Suello Hill to Highway 37. As our Septem­ber letter to the Novato Planning Commission indicates, the County estimates that the addition of 1,150 southbound vehicles per hour on Highway 101 headed for Hamilton in the morning would add 9 to 17 lane miles of queue to the existing queue beginning at Highway 37. The addition of 9 to 17 lane miles to the existing queue would back up traffic on the freeway an additional 3 to 6.5 miles extending the bumper to bumper traf­fic from its current beginning at Highway 37 up to San Marin Drive or past Gnoss Field.

The evening queue of bumper to bumper traffic currently begins north of San Marin Drive where the freeway narrows to 4 lanes and extends 1.8 miles to DeLong Avenue. As our September letter indicates, the County estimates that the addition of 865 northbound vehicles per hour on Highway 101 from Hamilton during the evening commute would add 7 to 13 lane miles of queue to the existing queue beginning at DeLong Avenue. The addition of 7 to 13 lane miles to the existing queue would back up traffic on the freeway an additional 2.3 to 4.3 miles extending the bumper to bumper traffic from its current beginning at DeLong down to Highway 37 or Alameda del Prado. In summary, the County estimates that the Hamilton project would add 3 to 6.5 miles of congestion to the freeway during the morning commute hours and 2.3 to 4.3 miles of congestion to the freeway during the evening commute hours. I hope these figures provide the clarification you requested.


Marin County Planning Department San Rafael

 NBTMA Supports The Hamilton Project

North Bay Transportation Management

Association (NBTMA) believes that the public and private sectors working together can create traffic solutions that will improve the community’s quality of life.

NBTMA asks you to support the Hamilton Project for the following reasons:

Hamilton traffic reduction strategies; first right to rent for those who work at Hamilton; Redevelopment Agency funds of$105 mil­lion guarantee low and moderate income households funds to live and work at Hamil­ton; and optimal use of the Northwest Pa­cific Right-of-Way by designing to build a live/work community within a 1,2 mile walk of the transit corridor.

The correct County estimates that the project would add to miles of added queues are 3 to 6.5 miles in the morning and 2.3 to 4.3 in the evening. This is without factoring in the traffic mitigations listed above.

When phased traffic mitigation require­ments are coupled with developers who listen, traffic reduction can be the result.

Local Jobs Data Bank would place pres­ent Novato out-commuters into jobs at Hamilton. Transit providers could shuttle workers from Sonoma to their Hamilton jobs, such as the Santa Rosa Airporter.

Federal Entrepreneurial Capital Grunt funds are available to put a jitney on the road, but to receive them the recipient must show a 3 year business plan which shows that non-public money will make the jitney self-supportive. Hamilton’s developers would consider paying the fares of their workers who commute from Novato to work at Hamilton.

Hamilton is a model that can encourage the development of other mixed-used com­munities along Marin and Sonoma’s rail­road right-of-way. To build those workable communities, a model must be created. Hamilton is the model.