Thursday, July 24, 2014

Richard Hall objects to Supervisor's use of misleading Statistics, Distortions and Lack of Civic Engagement with the Voters.


I wanted to follow up my comments from this morning with some factual references, and comments I did not have time to cover.


We need an honest conversation about transportation. Supervisor Adams spoke today of bike paths as reducing commute traffic, together this and the argument of reducing greenhouse gases is also frequently used to justify spending millions, but the facts do not support these arguments. 

The NTPP Congressional Report appendix notes that $28m was spent on Marin's bike paths, but the bike counts clearly show usage is not just in the weeds (tiny compared to freeway counts of 15,000 cars per hour with 1.67 occupants per vehicle)

Look at table 2 in this US Census data specific to Marin commuting, this clarifies that there has not been any "significant change" in terms of switching from car to bike commuting:

The walk-bike Marin counts show tiny figures, see the weekday bike counts on page 23:

It is important that while you are frequently engaged by the bicycle coalition, who are well funded with professional paid attendees who meet with you and speak at events, that you maintain balance by understanding the facts and the needs of people. Many (most) of those people simply cannot reasonably switch their commute from cars to bikes for practical reasons (distance, traveling with kids, physical health, available time...)


Please engage with us more. While you have especially strong influence as an MTC Commissioner, you are not being observed to engage as effectively as many would like. You are seen to leave meetings immediately after they adjourn. You do not respond to emails or invitations to meet. At a town hall meeting last year where many shared concerns you supported a vocal crowd outside who were accusing those with valid concerns of being "racists". Many are starting to conclude that your tactic to deal with any opposing your views is to antagonize - if so I would ask that you reconsider the effectiveness of such an approach.
Please help support preserving and improving the quality of life for those who use the Richmond San Rafael Bridge everyday. While the accomplishment of completing a bike route may appeal, it is far more important that you maintain perspective that adding a third lane during commute will help save many combined lifetimes for drivers both crossing the bridge, or simply affected by the 101 backups. Tens of thousands cross that bridge each day or are affected indirectly by the backups, each could save minutes each day with appropriate traffic alleviation. By comparison during commute one might at best see perhaps 0.1% of that volume commute across the bridge by bike.

When I say "we", I refer to others like myself who seek an honest dialog to preserve the quality of life in Marin, to base this on facts, and the representation of residents. I believe the election has helped make it clear just how many are concerned by quality of life issues that are exacerbated through a policy of "high density, transit oriented development". 

We both found the letter by Dr Robert Frankel objectionable that you read out at a prior supervisors meeting. You used this objectionable letter (a nice "straw man" that made it easy to shoot down and suggest opponents are unreasonable) and then spoke of "tea party and extremist infiltration". Please can you help restore engagement to the conversation - this speech did not help. 

Reasonable people, many like myself who are registered Democrats, were just a little shocked by your speech. We don't want to be - we want a supervisor who does not seek to polarize issues - that can potentially log-jam engagement, allowing railroading through of a desired agenda.


Thank you for representing residents concerns to the town council of Larkspur regarding the Larkspur Station Area Plan. We encourage this and further engagement. 


I am concerned by some of the negative comments made regarding councillor Eklund's attempts to engage on the matter of Plan Bay Area at a recent TAM meeting with Steve Kinsey and Dan Hillmer present. Pat Eklund is to be applauded and upheld as an example. She is making genuine efforts to engage in dialog about this Plan and its successor with a large number of people who hold concerns. She is listening, and genuinely seeking out the facts in a fair and balanced manner. 

The comments at these meetings served to dismiss and characterize her actions as negative when they should instead be embraced by Marin's elected representatives as a model for better engagement.


Finally please let go of the disingenuous straw man that Marinites oppose affordable housing. The vast majority have these concerns:

- we want to preserve quality of life, this should be a top priority in planning (but is either diminished or missing)

- we want to understand genuine impact on traffic, parking, schools and especially the environment

- we don't want buildings that are out of character to our beautiful county (aesthetically, out of scale, too high...)

- we recognize that highway 101 is a vital resource that could easily be pushed beyond capacity; Sonoma County has PDAs with 24,010 housing units planned; this will clearly have significant impact on 101. We cannot presume that the new residents will take SMART or burden those with no alternative but to use 101 by turning it into a parking lot by adding too many housing units. 

We can embrace the continued slow growth of our county with new buildings that are in character, that ensure 20% of new units are affordable, that do not concentrate undue burdens on specific neighborhoods, that reuse or convert existing buildings and/or by encouraging second units. 

Thank you for listening. I do sincerely hope that engagement can be improved for the benefit of all residents of Marin including our elected representatives,

Richard Hall

San Rafael





No comments:

Post a Comment