Novato Advance Wednesday, May 24, 1989
By DWAYNE HUNN
The 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.
It’s goal is to “Advocate promote, develop and implement innovative traffic reduction and ridesharing strategies in Marin and Sonoma counties.
NBTMA asks you to support the Hamilton project for the following reasons:
- No other California project has undertaken, and is prepared to support, as many traffic reduction strategies, as has the Hamilton project. These include:
A full-time traffic system management coordinator who will also be responsible for insuring that those who work at Hamilton will have the first right to rent or own at Hamilton.
Redevelopment Agency Housing Set-Aside funds of $105 million that essentially guarantees that every low and moderate income household will have financial assistance to help find housing at Hamilton.
Optimal use of the Northwest Pacific right-of-way by designing to build a live-work community within a half-mile walk of the transit corridor.
Since no other project has implemented all of these traffic reducing strategies in one project, none of these three points were factored into the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR). In other words, the EIR~ traffic projections are not nearly as bad as the opponents to the Hamilton project purport. If models had existed that would have allowed these points to have been factored into the EIR, traffic projections would have been significantly reduced.
- Hamilton’s opponents have been proclaiming that the project will cause 12 to 17 miles of added queues on Highway 101. The correct county estimates are that the project should add 3 to 6.5 morning commute miles of congestion and 2.3 to 4.3 evening miles of congestion to the freeway. This is without factoring in the traffic mitigations listed in the first point
- Seventy-seven percent of Novato’s and 64 percent of Petaluma’s residents daily commute out of town to work. If Novato built 51 projects of 50 residential units each (equaling. Hamilton’s 2,550 units) over the next 12 years (Hamilton’s projected build out), the number of people commuting through Novato for jobs would increase significantly.
Remember: Those 51 projects would not have to develop EIR answers as comprehensive as Hamilton has. Those 50 projects, forcing continued long commutes in single-occupant vehicles, would have a harsher impact on air quality, jobs-housing balance, a shorter work commute and a rail transit option to replace many of the single occupant automobile commutes.
4.When phased traffic mitigation requirements are coupled with developers who listen and care, significant traffic reductions can be the result. Rather than saying “no” or “not possible” to every idea, as their opponents do, these local
developers want to and must listen.
What can be some of the results?
5.Novato Priorities’ idea of developing a local jobs data bank which could replace present Novato out-commuters into jobs at Hamilton could become a reality. Out-commuters could trade commute time for family time.
- Transit providers such as Santa Rosa Airporter, who are already preparing to do so, could shuttle workers from Sonoma to their Hamilton jobs.
- For years the Novato Jitney Committee has been trying to put a jitney on Novato’s streets. Federal Entrepreneurial Capital Grant funds are available to put a jitney on the road, but to receive them, the recipient must show a three-year business plan, which shows that non-public money will make the jitney self-supportive. Hamilton developers would consider paying the fares of their workers who commute from other parts of Novato to work at Hamilton in order to reduce auto use to-from Hamilton. This would help them reach the traffic mitigation levels required of them over their four developmental phases. Such a plan could simultaneously establish a base of self-sufficiency for the jitney.
Review the points made. Consider all the traffic mitigations and ideas outlined. Constructive ideas, developers who want to implement them and a project comprehensive enough to produce them do not come along often.
Hamilton is a model that can encourage the development of other mixed-use communities along Marin and Sonoma’s railroad right-of-way. When enough work-live communities are built, the train will be effectively utilized and that will also reduce traffic on the Highway 101 corridor.
To build those workable communities, a model must be created. Hamilton is the model.