The city of Novato is considering a project now that is at odds with the needs of the citizens, a delay in making important safety upgrades and a waste of taxpayers' taxes.
It is the trifecta.
The city wants to change the current Redwood Boulevard and Grant Avenue bus stop to a major transit hub with a controversial "weave design" for the buses to create headway that is not needed now or moving forward. The change will increase possible bus headway to 60 buses an hour, when the current and future needs per the reports submitted to the City Council are six buses per hour at peak.
|Does Old Town Novato need a bus station that can handle 60 buses an hour? That's one per minute!|
The City Council also approved a Community Based Transportation Project, a report that was just released. The cost of this study was approximately $300,000.
A review of sections on the bus stops, crossing and sidewalks doesn't appear to call for changes to be made to the Redwood and Grant bus stop and turning it into a major regional transportation hub. Rather, it talks about fixing and improving the safety of the crosswalks, renovating the current shelter, adding amenities such as bike racks and newsstands, and adding real time electronic GPS boards.
All in all, the residents appear to be asking for changes that will improve access to areas within Novato by reducing the cost of transportation and adding new services such as low-cost taxis equipped for wheelchairs to access local medical appointments.
This plan has held up basic renovations for the past four years by making the regional hub a greater priority than improvement to local transportation facilities and services.The decision to put millions of dollars into a regional transfer hub appears to be coming from outside Novato, from the county level based on a plan created more than a decade ago.
|The real reason for transit projects is that it provides access to funds to build high density housing like the above.|
The location also is poorly thought out as it lacks any form of parking for commuters, limiting those who can even make use of a transfer hub.
The Redwood and Grant bus project is not what bus riders are actually asking for. The Community Based plan focuses on the most needy residents. It is funding tied to Lifeline grants that apply to residents living at or below the poverty level.
The $4 million to $5 million for this project could significantly improve the entire Novato bus stop system, including path of travel for disabled residents.
It is more important that we address the needs of residents dependent on bus service and wait to see how the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit train will fill in the gaps in regional transportation including transfers.
A more fitting location might be adjacent to one of the two local SMART stations to be developed. Transfers would then include access to the train as well as the buses.
The City Council should listen to the 252 people who signed the petition we sent them. They are citizens who actually took the time to review this unneeded plan, see a waste of funds and support what is needed by actual local bus riders.
Al Dugan of Novato has been involved in local debates over housing and transportation.