Thursday, November 24, 2016

Steve Kinsey gets rich consulting contract from San Rafael

Kinsey hired by San Rafael to guide downtown changes

The Transit Center in downtown San Rafael will have to be revamped quickly so that SMART trains can pass through.
The Transit Center in downtown San Rafael will have to be revamped quickly so that SMART trains can pass through. Robert Tong — Marin Independent Journal

Steve Kinsey (Robert Tong - Marin Independent Journal)
Steve Kinsey (Robert Tong - Marin Independent Journal) 
Marin Supervisor Steve Kinsey, who leaves his post early next year, has found new work as a $175-per-hour consultant for the city of San Rafael. He will help guide the city as the downtown undergoes major upheaval to accommodate commuter rail service and a new transit center.
The San Rafael City Council approved hiring Kinsey on a 4-1 vote Monday, although the supervisor will not begin working for the city until after he leaves office Jan. 2.
His job will be to help the city staff untangle plans for downtown put forth by the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit agency and Golden Gate Bridge district. The Bettini Transit Center in downtown San Rafael will have to be revamped quickly so that SMART trains can pass through the hub en route to Larkspur as soon as 2018. The move will force more buses onto city streets.
Additionally, the bridge district — which owns the transit center — plans to move the hub to another site downtown to better accommodate the train and existing bus service. A bike and pedestrian path as part of the SMART project is also part of the mix.
All that means San Rafael officials will have their hands full.
“There are many trying projects within the city,” Mayor Gary Phillips said. “We want to do it right, and provide the support to do so.”
The support will come from Kinsey, who has experience in planning, has contacts with the agencies involved and has been a top transportation official locally as well as regionally, serving on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
“This is one of the most historic, complex, but exciting projects for the city,” Kinsey told the council. “There is no question it is very challenging. I see it as a role that will support your staff. This is something the community itself will have to have a significant role in.”
Kinsey’s fee will be capped at $50,000. If more hours are needed for the work, the council would have to approve a budget increase.
Councilman John Gamblin cast the lone vote against the hire, saying more time is needed to study the changes before the city hires someone to address them.
While praising Kinsey’s credentials, Gamblin said there are too many unknowns about SMART, including its ridership and overall impact on San Rafael. He also noted Measure Q — which voters approved to build SMART — didn’t note the impact on the transit center.
“There are too many questions out there that have yet to be answered,” he said. See Article HERE

Editors Note: Steve Kinsey has been a MTC Commissioner and is the leading voice for the urbanization of Marin.  He is currently the subject of a million dollar lawsuit over his actions while on the California Coastal Commission.  

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