July 30, 2014: S.R. & Umbrella Groups Monthly Meeting Notes

Discussion Item 1 Resilient Neighborhoods:  Tamara Peters gave a presentation on this group which helps people organize groups who band together to help cut carbon admissions.  Tamara is willing to come to neighborhood group meetings and give presentations about the program.

Discussion Item 2 Dementia Awareness:  Battalion Chief Jeff Buscher of the San Rafael Fire Department explained how the fire department is working with other groups to get aid to residents with dementia or other problems that they encounter as they do emergency aid calls.  The other groups include Marin County Aging and Adult Services (415) 457-4636; Adult Protective Services (415) 457-4636, www.marininhhs.org/aging-adult-services; Family Caregiver Alliance (415)434-3388, www.caregiver.org; United Way 211, Call 211; Seniors At Home (415) 507-0564, www.SeniorsAtHome.org; Senior Resources @ Home (415) 583-4789, www.jtm-esc.org: ReCares (free equipment) Wed 11-2, 3100 Kerner Blvd. San Rafael.

Discussion Item 3 Improvement of City/Resident Communications:  The San Pedro Road Coalition presented the following:
Memo from the San Pedro Road Coalition
July 30, 2014
Federation/Coalitions/City/City Council Special Joint Meeting

The City obviously is making some attempts to communicate with the residents

Snapshot by Nancy Mackle is read and appreciated

GREAT (Growing Resident Engagement and Transparency) is an Ad Hoc Committee of the Council headed by Kate Colin that tasks itself with creating, among other things, dialogue around controversial issues or projects

Communication is extremely important because the City is essentially built out and almost all new projects contemplated by the City have to be superimposed on already established uses.  This almost always results in impacts on established residential areas, business areas or a mix of the two.  The impacts are not always positive.  Those who are going to be impacted need to be given timely and complete information and a chance to participate in discussion leading to decision making.

Unfortunately communication is not always happening.  For example, the planning to install Class II bike lanes on much of Point San Pedro Road went forward without the City residents along the road being given information and a chance to provide input as to the feasibility of changing class III to class II thus eliminating parking.  This was in stark contrast to the County sections where the County contacted residents and sought their input on the feasibility.  In the City all we have been told is that what the city did is legal — we still do not even know what criteria were used to determine feasibility. Residents do appreciate the Mayor and Council putting the discussion of this situation on the Council agenda for August 18th.  We hope this will lead to better communication and will allow city residents along the road to have meaningful input into feasibility decisions as those in the County had.

We have some suggestions that might help with communications:

The City should contact HOAs and umbrella neighborhood groups whenever a project that impacts residents is being planned so that these groups can spread the word to their constituents.  Many of these organizations are able to quickly reach their residents through means such as websites, email lists, telephone trees, Nextdoor communications, and so on.

For any major project have Communication Items on the checklist:  who is impacted, how will the City talk with them, when impacted people need to know, etc.

Add residents to the GREAT ad hoc subcommittee, including those with a variety of perspectives and from all parts of town.

Ask staff to check on and report any conflicts of new projects with older ones and with General Plan goals so that no Council takes an action that negates previous action without being fully aware of it and explaining why they have chosen to override the previous action.

Keep the City website up-to-date and use it to post information about projects, both those underway and those being planned.  For example, post information about the changes as they happen in the repaving of PSPR from the quarry to Biscayne.

We hope to see much better communication and transparency in the future and much more inclusion of the viewpoints of residents who will be impacted by City projects.

Mayor Phillips thanked the Coalition and said he especially appreciated the specific suggestions.  City Manager Nancy Mackle explained some of the efforts that are currently going on to improve communications.  She said that the Ad Hoc committee is about done with its work.

During a brief discussion of the example used in the memo, the mayor said that he and the Council realize that the situation was not handled in the best way.  He also mentioned that problems have arisen with the road itself in that some sections are sinking.  These problems will have to be addressed with the subcontractor.

Update 1 City Plans for Sea Level Rise:  Paul Jensen, Head of Community Development, briefly explained what the City is doing.  For a full explanation of the topic, it was suggested that people use the following links:
Link to the February 3, 2014 City Council meeting agenda.  Scroll down to agenda item #5c, which provides a link to the Sea Level Rise staff report and video.

http://cityofsanrafael.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=552

The sea level rise white paper and separate appendices are posted on the City’s website; link as follows:
http://docs.cityofsanrafael.org/CityMgr/Green/sea%20level-issues-paper-city-of-san-rafael.pdf
http://docs.cityofsanrafael.org/CityMgr/Green/sea%20level-issues-appendices-city-of-san-rafael.pdf

Paul added that the City is addressing this issue through a template provided by the Association of Bay Area Governments, (ABAG).  Working with this state approved mechanism will allow the City to qualify for certain funding.
Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) has a Pilot Program of vulnerability assessment and has chosen San Rafael to be part of the program, especially the downtown and canal areas.

Update 2 Road Paving Priority System, Roads slated for repaving, and PSPR grant: Nancy Mackle said that an item about the Pavement Condition Index could be listed on the agenda in a future meeting to explain how priorities are set.  She explained that the grant was based on Federal funds which have run out and have not yet been replenished.  Because of this, she expects the repaving of PSPR from the quarry entrance to Biscayne will be done next year rather than this year.  Information on what roads are scheduled needs to come from the Public Works Department.  The list experiences frequent changes as contracts go out to bid.  Nancy explained that the City would like to repave each road every 20 years, but the current reality is closer to every 40 years.

[Follow-up Note: On August 1, 2014, theNader Mansourian of the S.R. Public Works Dept. checked on the funding sources for the re-pavement of Point San Pedro Road from the Quarry to Biscayne Drive. The funding source that the City is using for this project is not the same funding source that Congress approved on July 31, 2014. Nader said that the City will reapply for funds for the PSPR project next April, the earliest period his contract believe that new funding will be available. As I reported earlier to you, the City will use some of its own funds to the complete the design work for the project as they will be ready to proceed with the project when construction funding are secured.]

Update 3 The Design, construction schedule and funding of the Transit Center Connector Path Project (Heatherton): This item was only briefly addressed because the person who proposed it was unable to attend the meeting.  It did go out to bid on August 7 and it is expected that the contact will be awarded on August 18th with construction to begin in September or October.