Britain Invests $78 Billion in Roads

We are constantly told to “be progressive like the Europeans”, to divert transportation funding from roads to transit. However, Britain, recognizing how roads drive the economy, is investing $78 billion in roads.

Moving the Goalposts: Marin Climate Action Plan

The Marin County Climate Action Plan 2014 Update pushes for expanding transit  - presuming transit emits less CO2 than cars. What if this was based on false assumptions that gave transit an artificial advantage?

The $68m Bikepath - A Bridge Too Far

Why are we spending $68m on a bike path for a handful of cyclists? Transit Oriented Development’s bridge too far.

Special Interests Move Towards Checkmate Position

We should all be alarmed by Marin County’s Climate Action Plan – likely to increase emissions and degrade quality of life it delivers a powerful tool to special interests progress growth and transit agendas.

SMART Train Housing Growth to Cause 101 Congestion

The presence of the SMART train has resulted in Sonoma County planning a staggering 24,010 additional housing units along the line.

Marin Cyclists Thrown Under the High Density Housing Bus

The Marin County Bicycle Coalition uses its membership numbers and funds to advocate high density. Is it throwing its members under the bus?

Transit Oriented Development’s Dirty Secret

What if transit oriented development projects actually increased emissions and traffic congestion?

How Does Your Car's Emissions Compare to Transit?

There is a common misconception that transit is greener than traveling by car; we associate guilt with the convenience of car travel –  but the reality is illuminating

UK to Invest $78 Billion in Roads

We’re told by Sacramento politicians, by county supervisors, by cyclists and transit advocates we need to accept high density housing near transit. We are sewn a story that we can be just as quaint as those progressive, green Europeans. Only here’s the reality check – the UK govern […]

The Fantasy of TOD Exposed in Los Angeles

While Transit Oriented Development advocates would have us believe a major shift has been happening to transit, in Los Angeles the figures reveal the opposite story. New Geography’s Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox separate TOD fantasy from reality. Read the full story >>

Moving the Goalposts: Marin Climate Action Plan

The Marin County Climate Action Plan 2014 Draft Update raises many questions. Recently I submitted a freedom of information act request to which I received this response (zip file). The Climate Action Plan proposes that Marin can reduce CO2 emissions by making a major push to switch travelers from c […]

Powerpoint Slides from Nov 13th Citizen Marin Presentation

Many of you have inquired about obtaining my presentation from the recent Citizen Marin event held on November 13th at San Rafael City Hall. Here is the presentation in both pdf and ppt format: Powerpoint Presentation (pdf) >> Powerpoint Presentation (ppt) >> Note: You may use the slides […]

The $68m Bridge Too Far

Many Marinites and East Bay residents suffer at the hands of acute delays on both 580 and 101 in the evenings caused by the evening backup on the Richmond San Rafael Bridge. The fix is on the way drivers have been told thanks to a $70.3m project set to: add an additional third lane that operates dur […]

The Richmond Bridge Bike Path – A Bridge too Far?

While acknowledging that bicycle infrastructure is behind the curve and merits increased expenditure, we are seeing bike path projects where expenditures have been getting out of hand. Transportation funding is dwindling, the SMART train already diverted $11.4m of funding earmarked to solve congesti […]

The “Sinister Marin” Housing Survey

Over the last week residents across the county experienced the “sinister Marin” telephone housing survey asking questions that might as well have been “are you a racist?” to find out which angle of attack would be the most effective to push through high density housing across […]

Novato Narrows Widened – Huge ROI Compared to Bike Paths

This coming Friday Caltrans is set to open up a new section of carpool lane northbound from Atherton Avenue/San Marin Drive exit to the Birkenstock warehouse, about 1.3 miles in length. This carpool lane will increase the capacity of 101 by 1,200 cars per hour – which at 1.67 occupants per hou […]

Marin’s Climate Action Plan – Moving into Checkmate Position

Fighting climate change is important – but what seems to have become even more important to special interests groups is placing significant impositions on the greater population, sometimes for profit, but also in the simple belief that everyone should make sacrifices to fight climate change, n […]

SMART – Quiet Zone and Financial Update

Many hundreds of San Rafael and Novato residents stand to be impacted or significantly impacted by 100 dB SMART Train horns that will commence at around 5:45am every weekday. Most of these residents remain unaware. Test soundings of horns along the line can be heard “loud and clear” 1 1/ […]

New State Planning Guidelines Disregard Traffic Impact

If you live within 1/2 mile of a “major transit stop” – meaning a stop served by buses running at a frequency of every 15 minutes or less at peak, or within 1/2 mile of a train station or ferry terminal  - then you should be aware of a new change to transportation analysis. Effecti […]

SMART Train Posts Platform Plans

SMART has  posted  plans of the platforms at Civic Center and Downtown San Rafael. They’re fairly basic with a shelter and a few seats. It’s important to understand that the arrival of the train in Downtown San Rafael is going to have significant ramifications on the current transit cent […]

SMART Train Growth Set to Overwhelm Highway 101

Thanks to the SMART train, a project we were promised would alleviate congestion on Highway 101, towns in Sonoma County have planned a whopping 24,010 housing units in the Priority Development Areas (PDAs) along the train line — equivalent to a city the size of San Rafael appearing in Sonoma County. […]

A Sign of the End of the Line for SMART?

Today, August 5th, the Marin IJ’s Dick Spotswood published an article “Marin close to state cap for sales tax measures“  that Marin’s county and city sales taxes are about to reach their limit of 2% (on top of the existing 7.5% state sales tax).  If (when) sales taxes reach t […]

Walk Bike Marin’s $28m+ Failure Rewritten Into Success!

While I enjoy cycling and support extending bike paths and trails, residents such as myself have found themselves facing off against bicycle coalitions and bike groups that serve as the vanguard for pushing high density housing. Frequently these groups claim to represent thousands of cyclists and sp […]

Why Solar Makes Sense

As many readers will know, the author is a high tech product manager who applies economics and rigorous business model analysis to understand if claims of “sustainability” are valid. Recently I began to investigate whether solar panels are genuinely sustainable – meaning that they […]

Marin County High Density & Bicycle Coalition

Marin County Bicycle Coalition members are being surprised to find their organization volunteering their neighborhoods for high density housing. Are they being used as pawns in the high density housing wars? The Marin Cyclist’s Dilemma While I’ve been outspoken regarding the need for bik […]

The Junior Second Units Solution

A Low-Impact/High-Benefit Solution to Changing Housing Needs in Marin by Rachel Ginis We live on a majestic peninsula surrounded by natural wonders set just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. Marin, brilliantly located, is an amazing place to live and work. Exceeding population projec […]

What Should Come After Plan Bay Area?

Plan Bay Area hit really stiff resistance – the opposition is now mobilized and highly organized – and primed and ready for Plan Bay Area 2.0. Some might argue that some kind of revolution is needed; instead I strongly suggest ABAG and MTC incorporate new thinking into future regional tr […]

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It’s Time to Redefine “Sustainability”.

Planning for Reality provides a 21st century guide encouraging a healthy, skeptical and informed approach to planning decisions.

On this site you will find:
- a guide on common planning pitfalls for for councilors, planning commissioners and advisory committee members
- the tough questions to ask to understand if a project is genuinely "sustainable"
- a reference to rapidly changing transportation and land use legislation
- the latest news on "sustainable" transit oriented development and high density housing

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