SMART Will Begin Passenger Service to the New Larkspur and Novato Downtown Stations on December 14, 2019

Friday, December 6, 2019 – 3:40pm
Petaluma, CA— At the December 4, Board of Directors meeting, SMART General Manager, Farhad Mansourian, announced that passenger service to the new Larkspur and Downtown Novato stations would begin on Saturday, December 14.
The new Larkspur station will offer a vital connection to the Bay Area for commuters and visitors alike via the Golden Gate Ferry.  The Larkspur station will also serve as a gateway for tourists wishing to visit Marin and Sonoma counties.  SMART will be working with business leaders to attract visitors to travel by train for tourism and recreation to the beautiful North Bay.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies: SMART invites the community to join the celebrations marking the opening of the two new stations.  On Friday, December 13, at 1:00 PM, SMART will host a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Larkspur Station, followed by festivities at the Marin Country Mart.  The following day, Saturday, December 14, at 10:30 AM,  the City of Novato will host a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Downtown Novato station.

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Toronto’s secret success: Suburban buses

Jonathan English is a Toronto-based PhD candidate in urban planning at Columbia University.

In discussions about the recipe for transit success, the key ingredient is always land use. Is there enough density? Is it walkable?

Certainly, these elements are very important. But the assumption that land use must be perfect for transit to succeed has led to fatalism about the fate of transit in neighbourhoods built around the car. Climate change is an imminent crisis. We need a way to get people out of their cars faster than we can rebuild the suburbs where most people live. Fortunately, Canadian cities such as Toronto are a model of successful transit in seemingly unlikely environments.

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Editorial: Rail Should Come First on a New Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

Assembly member Marc Levine floats idea of a replacement bridge.

Chunks of the Richmond-San Rafael (RSR) bridge are falling off. And now North Bay Assemblyman Marc Levine is discussing replacing the 63-year-old span.

But if we’re going to replace it, does it make sense to rebuild it as another freeway bridge? “Where is the transit piece of this? The same piece that has been missing from the discussion of the RSR Bridge added car lane project,” wrote Bike East Bay’s Dave Campbell, in an email to Streetsblog.

As part of its planning, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has already obtained an estimate from Caltrans of $8.2 billion to replace the RSR bridge with another car bridge.

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Are D.C.’s Streets Finally Getting Safer?

Author : Andrew Small
November 11, 2019

Last year in Washington, D.C., a pair of city council members grilled the head of the city’s department of transportation on the status of bike and pedestrian projects in the District. It had been three years since the city had committed to following the traffic-calming principles outlined in Vision Zero, the international movement to reduce the injury toll associated with cars and trucks in cities. But the results, so far, had been disappointing: By that point in the year, 34 people overall had died on the city’s roads—D.C.’s worst year for traffic deaths in a decade.

The council members, Mary Cheh and Charles Allen, wanted an update from Jeff Marootian, director of the District Department of Transportation, on what the city had been doing in its efforts to make the streets safer. But as the hearing wore on, his answers started to sound like a refrain: Almost every new bike- or pedestrian-infrastructure project, from a road diet on Maryland Avenue to an Eastern Downtown protected bike lane, seemed to be about six to nine months away. In fact, the city task force that was supposed to coordinate Vision Zero policy across city agencies had only just met for the first time the month before.

“Do you get why that’s frustrating to hear?”Allen said to Marootian. “I think we can do more, and I want to impress on you that I think we need to treat this with a higher level of urgency. Why aren’t we experimenting with all kinds of different ways to pilot different ideas? If we mess it up, it’s a can of paint.”

Last month, the city council reconvened with Marootian for a seven-hour redux of that hearing, and there were signs that this advice had been heeded. In 2019, DDOT established a Vision Zero Office, fast-tracked quick-build safety projects like adding plastic pylons at crosswalks to slow drivers turns, and piloted some new ideas, such as dedicated bus lanes or painted curb extensions, that could be executed with little more than a can of paint. So far, 21 people have died from road crashes this year in the District, putting the city on track for the lowest number of traffic fatalities since the city committed to Vision Zero in 2015.

It’s a modest sign of progress, to be sure, especially considering the campaign’s ambitious benchmark. But it’s progress all the same.

When D.C. joined 13 other U.S. cities in making the Vision Zero commitment, its goal—eliminating all traffic deaths by 2024—seemed ambitious but also somehow achievable. Transformative safety improvements and a new era of technocratic, data-driven mobility were said to be a few short years away; self-driving vehicle technology appeared to be poised to eliminate the error-prone humans who were racking up 40,000 fatalities a year in the United States. Instead, technology has arguably made drivers worse, by dazzling them with digital distractions that have made cars even more lethal to other road users. While driving deaths have declined, this year the United States is having its deadliest year for pedestrians and cyclists since 1990.

Democrats’ Baffling Blind Spot On Cars

Author Michael Hobbes         

Few objects symbolize America’s unique place in the world better than the automobile. Residents of the United States drive more than 37 miles per day, nearly twice as much as the average Swede or Norwegian. America has 1.16 cars for every licensed driver and spends roughly $534 per person each year building and maintaining its road network. Three out of four U.S. workers drive to work alone; fewer than 1 in 20 walk or bicycle.

America’s unique enthusiasm for the automobile has become one of the greatest challenges to solving climate change. Transportation is now the greatest source of greenhouse gases in the United States. And while utility companies are phasing out coal in favor of renewable energy, the auto industry is moving in the opposite direction. In March, the International Energy Agency reported that America’s oil use was rising more quickly than any other nation. In 2016, the average American drove 1,300 more miles than they did in 1992. Nearly every advance in fuel economy has been wiped out by more driving, bigger cars — or deliberate sabotage by the Trump administration.

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