SMART Update by Barbara Heller
There will be improvements at all rail crossings in San Rafael. Most if not all SR crossings will be eligible for Quiet Zones (physical barriers coming down rather than train sounding whistle). SMART will work on planning in 2013 and 14. Once designs are complete, the City will hold neighborhood meetings to evaluate the pros and cons of Quiet Zones. City Council will have to pass a resolution to start the application for Quiet Zones. This is expected to happen in early to mid 2015. Once the application is submitted the Federal Rail Administration will review it within 60-90 days. The train is expected to begin operations in 2016.
Whistlestop working with Eden Housing expects to demolish its current building and replace it with a new 5-story building with parking on the first floor and apartments above. All units will be affordable rents for people over 60 whose income is 30 – 50% of the median family income for Marin. Jackson Café will relocate to the north end of property.
Mayor Phillips and Nancy Mackle explained that the City is exploring the possibility of putting a continuation of Measure S (1/2% sales tax) or a continuation with an additional 1/4% on the ballot in this year rather than in 2015. Two consultants are being used.
The results of the Citizen Satisfaction Survey were presented by Nancy Mackle.
The sample size was 506 with a margin of error of + or – 4.34%. On the satisfaction with quality of life question, 70.7% were very satisfied and 23.3% were somewhat satisfied. On satisfaction with City Services, 36.2% were very satisfied and 47.9 were somewhat satisfied. On the open-ended question about what the most pressing problem for the city the most concern 19.4% was focused on homelessness. The second most pressing problem was the financial situation/condition at 8.4%.
Carolyn Lennert presented a thought-provoking video from TED.
It was a segment on why the public is apathetic. The presenter Dave Meslin identified seven barriers to public participation. It can be viewed at www.ted.com under “apathy” in the search function. One suggestion made in the video was to get neighborhood groups more involved in official noticing by the city government.
Nancy Mackel said the City would like to know how the information from the monthly meetings with the umbrella groups is disseminated.