Posted 9/29/16: Umbrella Group Monthly Meeting Notes from September 28, 2016

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. Following is a summary of the most recent meeting:

Downtown Parking/Wayfinding Study Update: Jim, Myers, Parking Manager, along with a representative of Kimly Horn, the company hired to do the report, presented a draft of the report. The quarter-million dollar study was paid for by a grant from Caltrans that came through Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) to San Rafael. At this point the project is in an outreach phase looking for feedback from various groups before taking the report to the City. The latest draft report and a means to provide feedback can be found on the city web site at http://www.cityofsanrafael.org/parking-downtownstudy. Carolyn Lenert suggested that attention also needs to be paid to safety issues getting to the station and parking availability at the North San Rafael SMART Station.

Gallinas Creek Restoration: This item which concerned restoring Gallinas Creek, which is currently running through a concrete ditch from an area near Scotty’s Market up to the Mall, was put on the agenda by Carloyn Lennert of the Coalition of North San Rafael. The presentation was given by Judy Schriebman of the Gallinas Watershed Council. Currently water quality is poor in the ditch and it is expected that the state will soon be imposing fines for such conditions. It was suggested that funds could be sought from many sources including the residents.

Questions were brought up about a fund collected for undergrounding utilities in the area. Bill Guerin, Public Works Director, is going to follow up on this. The area is experiencing traffic congestion. It was suggested that adjusting the start and end times for the many schools in the area and well as shift-changing times from Kaiser might help with traffic congestion and perhaps could allow for eliminating one lane of traffic each way to create more room for the restoration of the creek. Kate Colin suggested that the office of County Supervisor Damon Connolly be contacted to see if they have been working on a traffic study in the area. Paul Jensen pointed out that the City has been looking at this area for some time in regard to traffic calming measures. He suggested that there needs to be discussion of including such changes in General Plan 2040.

New City Website: Rebecca Woodbury, Senior Management Analyst, gave a presentation about the new City website. A beta stage for the new website will be available next week with a survey designed to point out bugs and problems before working on the entire website. It is hoped that the new site will be functioning by December 1st. It will include constituent response management (CMR) which will allow people to track what happens with the comments and concerns they enter into the system. It is anticipated that the new system will speed up responses.