Posted 7/28/16: Umbrella Group Monthly Meeting Notes from July 27, 2016

The Coalition meets monthly with the City of San Rafael along with two other umbrella groups (Federation of Neighborhoods and Coalition of North San Rafael) to discuss activities, concerns and/or issues that are not readily addressed directly with the appropriate City agencies or where there is concern about the City’s approach. Items are placed on the agenda by the City and/or the three umbrella groups. This provides the Coalition with an opportunity to raise issues of particular interest to residents of our area. If you have any suggestions regarding potential topics for these meetings, we urge you to let us know via the Coalition Board contact form. Following is a summary of the most recent meeting:

  1. Danielle O’Leary the new Director of Economic Development and Innovation was introduced. She has 17 years of experience in the field, working in both small and large communities ranging from San Juan Capistrano to Santa Rosa. She has worked on community identity projects as well as on accelerating economic development.
  2. Bill Guerin, Department of Public Works Director, who has been on the job for about a month, was introduced. His formal training is as an architect and he has come from state and federal government work dealing with buildings. He presented a slide show focusing on SMART train work, including testing the system, improvements to traffic signals, queue cutter lights to keep cars off the tracks while the signal is red on the other side of the tracks, quiet zones, work near the Civic Center and the extension to Larkspur. The target date for train operation to San Rafael is December 2016. The extension to Larkspur will open later. The extension presents a challenge both in design and in funding for the bike/pedestrian path. Francisco Blvd. West must be realigned. There was a request that the train have a unidirectional horn so sound doesn’t spread out and a request for gates at the school crossing at Paloma. Director Guerinsaid he would look into these issues. He also talked about solar projects for the Al Boro Center, the DPW, and the C Street Garage. He explained that the City needs some energy upgrades at City Hall. There is a study going on with PG&E to identify City owned sites where there could be savings. He announced that the DPW will be moving to renewable bio-diesel fuel. This will burn cleaner and does not require any modifications on the DPW vehicles. The Rossi Fuel Station is to have more efficient motors installed this fall with a target date of October.
  3. Kraig Tambornini, S.R. Community Development Dept. Senior Planner, presented a report on General Plan 2020 updates. The 10 year review has been completed, bringing in things such junior second units and the SMART train. The biggest piece added was creation of a zone for the canal that recognizes that this area is primarily water with no development potential. There will be public hearings next month at the Planning Commission and in September with the City Council. Planner Tambornini pointed out that the state has a new traffic law with a more regional focus that uses vehicle miles travelled rather than the LOS (level of service) system that the City presently uses. He noted that fire prevention policies and hazard mitigation will probably be included in General Plan 2040.
  4. City Manager Jim Schutz gave an update on the RV/Oversized vehicle ordinance. It has been approved by the City Council and is now in the notification/warning period. Citations will start to be given on September 19. Signs are to be posted at all of the 47 locations that vehicles can enter the City. The rules are as follows:
    • As of September 19, 2016 RV’s are prohibited and large commercial vehicles are restricted from parking on public streets in the City of San Rafael.
    • Temporary RV parking permits will be available from Parking Services for loading/unloading and for out-of-town visitors.
    • Information on RV storage facilities is available at cityofsanradael.org/parking.
    • Commercial vehicles over 10,000 lbs. and oversize vehicles (exceeding 22 feet in length OR 7 feet in width OR 8 feet in height (including load) are limited to one (1) hour of parking on a city street unless actively loading/unloading.
    • Additional information regarding RV’s is available by telephoning Parking Services at (415) 458-5333.
    • Additional information regarding commercial vehicle parking is available by telephoning Parking Services at (415) 458-5333 or the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce at (415)454-4163.
  5. At the close of the meeting Mayor Gary Phillips urged the group to try to expand attendance to residents from more neighborhoods in order to widen input to the City.