Posted 7/31/17: Umbrella Group Monthly Meeting Notes from July 26, 2017

The Coalition meets monthly with the City of San Rafael along with two other umbrella groups (Federation of San Rafael 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.

Items discussed were:

SMART update – Trains have been running with free fares—25-30,000 riders so far. Everything in place for paid passenger service except for FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) sign off.  FRA positions are appointed and not many have been made under the current administration.  Although SMART passed all required inspections, SMART cannot begin paid service until FRA sign-off. SMART is the first train system to have  fully implemented a “positive train control,” an expensive program that will slow or stop the train if going too fast. The schedule calls for no more than 3 train cars in order to fit in between city blocks. there was discussion of traffic impacts at 2nd 3rd and 4th when SMART extends to Larkspur. However, Sonoma members of the SMART Board appear unsympathetic.

Third St and Lincoln Proposed Project – The Mayor says the procedures are still preliminary.  The community has not established expectations (compared to Whistlestop). The Mayor has asked Larry Paul to come up with 5-6 architects to define good design in context of the area. He does not want it to look like Walnut Creek or Wincup.  He wants to come up with a definition of good design — especially for the gateway to our City.

Considerations to include:

  • meet energy standards
  • what is in place now?
  • transit area; we are the mission city
  • get best people involved and let them go….
  • how does the project improve the downtown?
  • how resilient to sea level rise?
  • parking
  • bike/ped issues

Multi use path at 2nd and Anderson—path to parallel the tracks; SMART will assemble when they do the tracks. There are indications that approvals have been obtained but that $5 millions needed and only have $1 million has been identified.

Transit Center –  Golden Gate Transit is working on it.  In the interim, the existing site will be used with a reconfiguration to accommodate the buses with the loss of the platforms to the SMART train.  A reconfigured transit center will need to be built within 5 years. There are several possible configurations under consideration:

  1. Citibank and existing
  2. Citibank and block north
  3. 4th and 5th
  4. Citibank—two levels and something more—not yet worked out

When asked about whether there will be an opportunity for Community input on selection of consultant, Mayor Phillips said Golden Gate Transit has already put it out for bid.