Previous Meetings & Minutes
Station Area Forum II
"Imagine getting off SMART at the San Rafael Station. What will it look like?"
Guest: Steve Kinsey, City of San Rafael Transit Center Advisor, will provide an update
Date: Wednesday, March 29th
Time: 7-9 PM
Place: Whistlestop's Jackson Café, 930 Tamalpais Ave, San Rafael, CA 94901
Topic: "The State of the Station Area and Transit Center"
Format: Talk, audience Q & A, with neighborhood panel
Join us for an enlightening evening with an opportunity to learn and ask questions
Snacks and coffee will be served
For more information, contact Amy Likover, Interim Chair, Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods 415-450-1520, email@example.com
Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Jackson Café, 930 Tamalpais Ave., San Rafael, CA
Panel: Mayor Phillips, SMART Board, City Subcommittees; Damon Connolly, Marin County Supervisor District 1; Katie Rice, Marin County Supervisor District 2; Danielle O'Leary, San Rafael Department of Economic Development; Rebecca Woodbury, San Rafael Senior Analyst; Kate Powers, President, Marin Conservation League; Bill Carney, President, Sustainable San Rafael; Cynthia Landecker, President, San Rafael Heritage; Jim Elias, Executive Director, Marin County Bicycle Coalition; Ron Downing, Director of Planning, Golden Gate Transit; Jeff Rhoads, Friends of SMART; Tim Gilbert, BPAC San Rafael Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee; Kay Karchevski, Lincoln/San Rafael Hill Neighborhood Association; Mia Berndt, Friends of the Canal; Bonnie Marmor, Point San Pedro Road Coalition; Moderator, Amy Likover, Interim President, Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods
Greeting, intros and framework of forum goals by panel and Amy Likover, Interim President
A Panel of City and County officials, Non-profit, and Neighborhoods Leaders
Visioning the San Rafael Station Area, Transit Hub, and Gateway to San Rafael
Visioning the San Rafael Station Area, Transit Hub, and Gateway to San Rafael
City Leaders offer "Visioning about the Station Area"
The panel’s discussion was lead by the foundational question:
What vision do each of you have to guide the very real decisions now being made in the Downtown Station Area, the future of the new transit center, the old train depot, our commercial crossroads, area creeks and pathways
The Federation’s goals for this gateway location include:
• Efficient flow of traffic from the 101 freeway and on city streets
• Safe pathways for pedestrians and cyclists traveling all directions
• An appealing, aesthetic, and welcoming townscape
• Respect for our City's natural setting and history
Ideas/Vision of Station Area
· 86 year old father be able to cross the street at 3rd and Hetherton
· Kids able to walk and ride bikes safely to Davidson Middle School from Lincoln, Montecito and Canal Neighborhoods.
· Mahon Creek included as opportunity for positive aesthetic
· Watershed & water-based planning in conjunction with transportation planning, including run-off to Bay
· Create a world-class gateway to San Rafael. Addressing pedestrians safety, poor and increasingly bad traffic circulation, congestion
· Visionary solutions through brave community dialogue, coordination of agencies
· SMART service rolled out in positive way, making sure it’s extended to Larkspur; good solution for Bettini Transit Center, with multi-use bike path completed concurrently
· Whistlestop location/historic Depot building as hub for train/bus/bike/pedestrian center and gateway to downtown
· Not causing degradation for transit users (9,000 per day) or making their commute longer or more challenging—conversely, make it more efficient and pleasant
· Long-term solution for Bettini Center versus interim solution with buses on surface streets, etc.
· Transit Center as an asset, world-class vibrant urban downtown, community embracing personal habits for vehicle use and safety for multi-modal sharing of roadways.
· BPAC seeks input for their 5-year update for San Rafael’s Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan, addressing how to make a car dominated environment more walker and bike friendly
· Station Area is recreated as San Rafael’s front porch: walkable, welcoming; a place to stop, gather & enjoy; including a transit center that’s integrated in a comprehensive and contributing way with its surroundings, not just one with adequate turning radiuses
· A car-free 4th St. for buses & transit only (not past Lincoln) with transit shuttles frequent from cross-town to West End
· Access to waterways (Petaluma example) integrating overnight boaters AND flood mitigation (Canal area mentioned)
· Embrace San Rafael’s ready access to water: a destination (referenced the Great Baths history), Mahon Creek could be restored, culverts should maintained, and there should be dredging/mud removal, storm drains would function better
· Storm water turned to rain garden; filtering provides improved flood control
· Unique characteristic of location is confluence of Mahon Creek, San Rafael Creek and Canal; our transportation cross-roads derives from this natural system, which could be celebrated as a centerpiece of the station area “front yard;” providing a sense of place & connection to nature, expressed in Downtown.
· Outlying areas are concerned with not being able to reach Downtown or freeway in reasonable amount of time; need community conversations and balance for neighborhoods as stakeholders in the transit center
· Embracing “city-ness” of San Rafael as hub of County, employment and retail center, potentially an entertainment and residential center, for seniors and “Millennials”
· Need realistic traffic planning, improved circulation for East/West thru to Ross Valley and alternatives from short-cut routes like Sir Frances Drake and Wolf Grade, etc.
· Perhaps locate Transit Center not in midst of high-pressure area but downstream a bit (Larkspur Ferry?) or with satellite stops to match end-uses and multi-mode connections; too much in one spot
· Elevate railroad through central San Rafael with green space below to eliminate traffic conflicts and enhance quality of life and multi-modal transportation, promote walking & biking, wetlands, wetland trails and improve watershed
· Local transit connections (Marin Transit) and multi-use path Downtown to Larkspur
· Bike Parking
· Depending on transit center location, relook at configuration of 2nd and 3rd multi-lane one-way corridors; reconsider one-way “couplet” for safety issues; locate transit north of 3rd St. to eliminate bus to train user crossings and improve safety and circulation
· Locate primary bike & pedestrian crossings of 2nd and 3rd St. at Tamalpais West, identify these intersections with special paving, signalization, etc., and connecting the transit center to the North-South Greenway multi-use path between 2nd and Andersen; establish similar pedestrian crossings at Lincoln, Lindaro, and B streets, creating clear multi-use zones away from Hetherton
· Safety-driven project that is beautiful, promotes economic vitality and is attractive
· Pleasant, safe area to walk through, with clear way finding and ease of walking to end destination, good experience
· Vision of San Rafael as a destination with sidewalks, plazas, pocket parks, community connection, economic vitality, restored creek, pedestrian connection for East and West San Rafael, exchange transit modes elsewhere
· Eliminate blight on CalTrans property (chain link, litter & weeds)
· “Natural areas improve people’s behavior;” cities benefit from natural spaces. (Jim Elias)
· Downtown Station Area Plan from 2012 (available on Community Development page of City’s website) contains many of the concepts mentioned here for bike & pedestrian circulation, gathering space, economic vitality and green space; it includes transit center relocation ideas and diagram of Bettini block showing apartments with train going thru
· Bridge over Canal, enlivened waterways, safe route for commuters and students
Transit (Bettini) specific comments:
· Comment that the Transit Center may be the biggest challenge facing San Rafael now
· Comment (by Mayor) that the Transit Center may cost about $30 Million and involves multiple agencies (SMART, Golden Gate Transit, Marin Transit, and the City); looking at several options—2nd to 4th; 3rd to 5th; 4th to Mission.
· 2nd highest use transit center in Bay Area (9,000 people/day)
· Ideas have included buses on surface streets as interim plan
· Closing 5th Street is among the options, but not promising
· Consider closing 4th St. to cars, allowing trollies/shuttles and cross traffic.
· Treat both sides of Tamalpais (east and west of tracks) as “found commons,” with consistent street trees, landscaping, streetscape and façade guidelines, creating a greenway
· Perils of closing 5th given Mission bottleneck of train crossing making traffic worse there
· (Mayor) Could see affordable housing over Transit Center or on existing Bettini site (3-4 levels)
· Challenge of getting the flow of traffic and the train crossing through town to work with bus turning patterns and schedules
· Address parking and other needs for ridership going north in transit center plans.
· Tamalpais as a North-South linear Greenway, urban open space
· Natural & historic connection to rail preserved as part of Station Area. Many cities preserve their historic depot buildings (Mission revival design) and integrate them into the urban setting.
· Other: Art, seats, trees, bio-swales, urban forest and livability, urban design, human scale retail, place, significance
Moderator’s Follow-up Comments:
· Create a greenway on both sides of the SMART track. Trees, art, public meeting places, new cafés announce and celebrate the City's new neighbor, the train. Could even be pedestrian streets. A real bonus to new SR economic vitality. It's ingenious to bring nature to a street named "Tamalpais."
· Create a greenway with indigenous plants along the multi-purpose paths. Link up with Tamalpais and creek greenways for an "emerald necklace" effect?
· Feature San Rafael's genesis to the local waterways with a cleaned up San Rafael Creek & Mahon Creek. Native plantings to absorb water continue the “greenway concept.
· CalTrans cleans up properties near freeway, to make them natural and welcoming.
· Rethink the high-speed arteries 2nd & 3rd St and look at 101 on/off ramps for their slowdowns. Restriping to allow 2 lanes? Is there a better way to move the traffic? Are rotaries possible at Montecito? Alternative routing? Should Mission St. be one-way East or Westbound to loosen up backups on track? Pedestrian crossings?
· Showcase the historic SR Station Depot building. Make it our "Ferry Building." Whistlestop continues ownership, and could possibly host "World-Class" high profit concessions in the building: top notch Marin cuisine restaurant upstairs, first-rate espresso bar downstairs w senior discounts etc.
· Build a smaller matching "Mission-revival style building" where the Bettini Transit Center sits to create a welcome balance to that site. Could be the transit information hub.
· Consider density, pollution, light and noise first before planning housing on site
· Educate drivers to be attentive. [Post motorcycle cops at all 4 corners of the Station Area to cite bad drivers? This would send a message to all that the station area is off-limits to reckless driving.
· Remember Jim Elias’ words of wisdom from MCBC's Jim Elias, "In natural settings people behave better."
FSRN; September 29, 2016
Bill Carney and
October 5, 2016
Candidates Forum - Marin County Supervisory District 2
Over 60 people attended the Federation's Candidate Forum May 18th with Katie Rice (Inc.), Frank Egger and Kevin Haroff at the San Rafael Community Center.
Report on Fed/City/Coalition meeting 7/27
Report on Fed/City/Coalition meeting 3/30
Minutes from Previous Meetings:
Photo from Supervisor Candidate's Forum
Incumbent Susan Adams and Challenger Kerry Mazzoni respond to audience questions at the Federation sponsored Candidate’s Forum on May 13th, 2011