Video: The Story of How Marin (& Sonoma) Was Ruined

Citizen Marin has launched a new video describing the slow decline of Marin based on bad planning decisions and to drive awareness of the Larkspur Station Area Plan.

The Story of How Marin Was Ruined (Video)
The Story of How Marin Was Ruined (Video)
In December I published an article "The Story of How Marin Was Ruined". It describes the slow but gradual demise of the quality of life in Sonoma and Marin after cumulative planning decisions - such as the grandiose plans for Larkspur where 920 units equivalent to 5 Win Cups, and a hotel, and 177,000 square feet of additional retail are planned.

Remember that the SMART train, even at full capacity can accommodate only 3,000 riders; while 101 takes 330,000 people a day - for $1.6bn it represents a rounding error.

Also this video was created before it was realized that Sonoma had volunteered itself via Priority Development Area designations across the county to plan for 24,010 new housing units by 2040 - representing about 57,000 new residents - a city the size of San Rafael.

This has now be turned into a video by Citizen Marin complete with narrated voiceover and infographics.

You can watch the video here

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Anna Gomez January 13, 2014 at 12:32 PM
Your link to the petition doesnt work on the video. The petition is at change.org website - search "oppose larkspur landing plan" for everyone that wants to sign it.... Great video....can you create one for Sonoma? We need a Citizen Sonoma group!!!!!
Judd Ames January 13, 2014 at 01:33 PM
sal nero January 13, 2014 at 06:06 PM
Richard Hall January 13, 2014 at 06:59 PM
Yes - you definitely need a Citizen Sonoma group. The 24,010 units planned in Sonoma between now and 2040 are going to be overwhelming. Sonoma is being urbanized at a pace much more rapid than people realize. This is not because of a need for affordable housing, but a need for developers to make profits. If you zone for it - they will come.
sal nero January 13, 2014 at 07:29 PM
After defeating Measure B by any means necessary, Darius Anderson now controls Sonoma and by proxy the southern part of the Valley. They are cooking up development plans for SDC as we speak. I thought ABAG didn't class Sonoma Valley as eminently developeable. I was wrong because it really doesn't matter what ABAG says when the Gov is your buddy. Casinos, roads whatever. Nevermind that there is NO WATER or place to flush the toilets to.
Ralph Hutchinson January 13, 2014 at 07:57 PM
Payoffs, gifts, promises, tickets, dinner parties all were successful paying off the Sonoma vote. I'm just going to move up valley and look for the Old Sonoma cause south valley is lost.
sal nero January 13, 2014 at 08:09 PM
Wait, remember Protect Sonoma spokesperson Ms. Adams advised those of us Sonoma "embalmers" unhappy with more large hotels to move to Ukiah? I'm thinking Oregon.
Judd Ames January 13, 2014 at 08:21 PM
Ralph Hutchinson January 13, 2014 at 08:36 PM
Cows Not Casinos!! Darius.
Richard Hall January 13, 2014 at 10:18 PM
For those not already aware Sonoma is planning massive development - designating 12 "priority development areas" that in total number 24,010 new housing units (equivalent to a city the size of San Rafael). The development in Sonoma positively dwarfs what's planned for Marin by comparison - stand by - Sonoma is about to be significantly urbanized unless the community can address what's going on.--------------------------------------------------- http://tinyurl.com/mvjup4h
Susan Kirsch January 14, 2014 at 01:00 AM
Glad you like the video. If you want to find out more about Citizen Marin's efforts, go to our website www.citizenmarin.org. We can put you in touch with many local experts who are committed to preserving local control for citizens, not feed the developer and banker's unquenchable thirst for profits.
Peter Banka January 14, 2014 at 11:18 AM
I am not at all impressed by this video. This is backwards and reactionary. It's hard to believe that people are trying to argue against mass transit using the veil of "special interests" as the big hidden force. We need mass transit folks; you're going to have to get out of your cars. And if it's too expensive we need to focus on subsidizing it. Having hundreds of thousands of cars on the road is never going to compete with a real mass-transit system.
Richard Hall January 14, 2014 at 05:30 PM
@Peter: No building transit and then instantiating "Station Area Plans" to justify it through increased ridership is backwards (see goal #1 of all SMART station area plans). --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Let's talk about how spending $1.6bn on SMART could possibly alleviate traffic cost effectively. At full future capacity SMART will carry 6,120 riders (170 pax per carriage x 2 carriages x 9 trains each way per day x 2 ways;but trains cannot be 100% full all the time). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Today based on Caltrans figures highway 101 at N San Pedro Road San Rafael carries 197,000 vehicles per day. At the national average occupancy of 1.67 that makes 328,990 passengers. http://traffic-counts.dot.ca.gov/2012TrafficVolumes.pdf page 142, N San Pedro Rd, Back Peak Month (this is a daily figure). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Compare and contrast: ---------------------------------------------------- 328,990 current usage today of hwy 101 --------------------------- 6,120 future max capacity of SMART (cost $1.6bn) ------------------- Conclusion: SMART is a rounding error. --------------------------------- Had the money been spent on buses / reducing bus fares, we could be much more effective. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Here's how the market solves it, without having to urbanize Sonoma to justify the mass transit. ------------------------------------- http://tinyurl.com/solutons-cars
Richard Hall January 14, 2014 at 07:42 PM
@Peter: In the Bay Area investments in transit since the early 1980s have increased, yet per capita ridership has diminished. Care to comment?
Judd Ames January 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM
@Hall and your, “…Bay Area investments in transit since the early 1980s have increased, yet per capita ridership has diminished. Care to comment?” Per capita? Reminiscent of Mark Twain’s opinion (lies, damned lies and statistics), your undefined Bay Area provides myriad data, information, misinformation, opinion and hearsay from which to cherry pick and advance NIMBY fear mongering. More recent information, actually relating to your “ruined” Sonoma and Marin, suggests North Bay cherries can be exceptional. For example, per a Matt Brown 12/26/13 Press Democrat report regarding Golden Gate Transit, “Ridership on the North Bay bus network has grown 3 percent each month in the past year. To capitalize on this growth, the transit district board will consider reconfiguring routes in Sonoma County to add more express service and potentially add bus service to Rincon Valley.” Care to apologize for misleading readers, again? Or, like fear-mongering NIMBY cows-not-people cronies/losers endlessly recycling spew on Sonoma Valley Patch, you’ll choose to discredit the report because, as everyone knows, The King Of The United States and Cuba is a Press Democrat investor. People are coming! People are coming! Be afraid; be very afraid.
Richard Hall January 15, 2014 at 01:38 PM
Fundamentally the arguments for Transit Oriented Development in Suburban areas, which is the logic behind this push for high density behind urban concentration have failed to be made. At issue is that by building high density near transit substantially fewer residents will use cars - they will use transit instead. But this logic does not fit Sonoma at all. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TOD & SUBURBAN BIAS: Sonomas PDAs do not fit the mould of Robert Cervero's target areas for transit oriented development areas. They suffer from what Cervero describes as "suburban bias". I cover this in my post on Civic Center PDA. If anything the Sonoma PDAs are a much worse fit since they are a) considerably further from major employment centers and b) there is much more available free parking: http://tinyurl.com/square-round -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TOD EXPERIMENT FAILED IN LA................................................... The Los Angeles Times conducted surveys to identify how residents of new TOD high density developments traveled. The result was they all used cars. Even at a 350 unit (=500+ people) high density block perched right on top of a light rail station of the 225 people leaving the building only 1 took the light rail: http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jun/30/local/me-transit30 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Then we have East Portland's example where the kind of development being proposed in Sonoma led to blight: http://tinyurl.com/eportland2 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What's being proposed on top of this is *massive* growth far beyond what Sonoma or Marin have experienced previously. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So the premise behind the massive growth is ungrounded. Then the premise behind the idea that the new residents will take transit (more often) is disproven, especially in suburban and rural areas like Sonoma which aren't a fit for it. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now if you're talking San Francisco, South San Francisco, Daly City - that's a great fit. Same for Oakland / Emeryville - I'm with you (possibly). But not in suburban areas far, far away from major employment centers. Go read my Civic Center PDA Square Peg Round Hole article - and as mentioned Sonoma's PDAs are a much worse fit than Civic Center for reasons stated: http://tinyurl.com/square-round
Richard Hall January 15, 2014 at 01:39 PM
Note: Robert Cervero, a Professor at UC Berkeley, is the father of Transit Oriented Development.
Richard Hall January 15, 2014 at 08:01 PM
Regarding the per capita transit usage has dropped in the Bay Area since the 1980s despite significantly increased transit investment. The sources for this data are official public / government organizations: MTC and the Federal Transit Administration. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The analysis of this MTC and FTA data is shown on page 18 of this letter by transportation expert (and former CFO of Souther California Rapid transit district - the 3rd largest transit district in the US): ------------------------------------------------------------------ https://orinda-watch.squarespace.com/s/Tom-Rubin-comment-letter.pdf -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rubin's letter is highly articulate and readable and speaks in depth to the point I have been making. In addition it exposes another significant issue that all this urbanization near transit is being undertaken to meet goals of Steinberg's SB375 returning car emissions to 1990 levels (supposedly by getting people to switch to transit through this densification) when this goal is already being met through MTC's Climate Change Initiative and CARB legislation.
Richard Hall January 16, 2014 at 12:24 AM
@Judd: Sorry, but the GG Transit database contradicts that bus ridership is up: http://goldengate.org/news/transit/trends_traffic-transit.php -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- See table "Golden Gate Transit Bus Ridership": FY 11-12: 6,672,875 riders FY 12-13: 6,627,935 riders So bus ridership actually dropped last financial year. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Looking at the current financial year (June - June) year to date up to December ridership is down 2.5% -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm getting my data directly from the source - is that cherry picking?
sal nero January 16, 2014 at 09:32 AM
Richard- don't waste your time with Judd. He is one of the main online proponents of the Graton Casino and development in Sonoma. He has taken over the top positions and name called in defense of the Casino's chief lobbyist Darius Anderson, who also owns the Press Domocrat and Sonoma Index-Tribune. He defends development whether it was the Casino or kicking out Sonoma Developmental Center Patients so that Anderson and the Graton Miwoks can get a foothold in Sonoma Valley. Since Measure B lost in Sonoma and big hotels are coming to the Plaza it's game over. Judd likes this. He is cool with gridlock apparently.
Richard Hall January 16, 2014 at 09:50 AM
@Sal: Thanks for the tip off.


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