Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bikers, Their Anger and Their SMART Train

September 24, 2008- Marin County

SMART train opponents had one of their signs spat on and their posters blocked and tampered with by train supporters (mainly MCBC bikers) at a rally that was held today at Larkspur California’s Cal-Park tunnel to celebrate the commencement of the construction work on the tunnel. Present at the meeting were representatives of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Assemlyman 6th District, Jared Huffman, former Marin Supervisor, Cynthia Murray and SMART chair, Marin Supervisor, Charles McGlashan. Both McGlashan and Huffman downplayed the significance of potential harm to endangered species living along one of the trains Marin corridors, Gallinas Creek. Train opponents site traffic congestion,
increased development and spiraling costs as problems minimized by train supporters.

For more information on the “real” impacts and costs of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, see
Fact No. 2: The train would be an enormous expense, considering the few riders projected to take it. SMART's Project Funding Plan indicates that SMART would spend
$1.3 Billion over 20 years. Based on the projected number of riders, SMART would spend $50 per one-way ride.

By contrast, Golden Gate Transit's capital and operating costs per rider were $9 in 2006. In 2008 GGT and Marin County Transit provided 32,000 passenger-trips per day. Compare this to SMART’s estimate of 5,650 per day by 2025. .

Fact No. 3: Express buses would work far better in Marin and Sonoma than rail. Jobs are dispersed throughout the north bay, rather than in one or two economic centers. Ask yourself how you would get from a rail station to a job a mile from the station. Bus service would be far more convenient and would cost far less.

Fact No.4: SMART will compete with existing bus systems both for riders and funding. In many areas in which rail service has been introduced, bus service was reduced or realigned to promote rail use. In Los Angeles overall transit use declined after rail service began because bus routes were eliminated or realigned and bus fares were raised.

Rail backers want you to ignore these facts. Don't be railroaded by the slick literature you're sure to get this fall. The North Bay has much to lose if this measure passes.

30 million autos & trucks cross the Richmond San Rafael bridge every year making trips into Marin County. The train will have no impact on this traffic pattern. In-fill housing will add about 50,000 units along the trains length....think about the number of car trips that this will add. SMART is a developers' dream. Clapper rail habitat will be permanently lost if the train is allowed to cross the Gallinas Creek wetland.

Trains usually require a 3/4% tax, not a 1/2% tax as SMART is proposing. Trains in general are good ideas, however, this train is trying to cram itself into an infrastructure that will be severely effected in a stressful manner. The negatives far outweigh the positives on the train. Alternative fueled mass transit busing is the way to go in Marin and Sonoma.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Marin County Bicycle Coalition's Publicity Stunt Patrol

Why is the MCBC's China Camp bike patrol ineffective? For starters it does little to address the main problems with bikes in China Camp;
  • namely that there is too much bike travel there that's taking a serious toll on trail conditions, especially during rain days,
  • it does nothing to address the fact of illegal trail riding on off limits narrow trails in the park,
  • Is there reportage to China Camp Rangers of jump ramps and worn hillsides?
  • MCBC does nothing to advocate for increasing fines for illegal bike riding or
  • for advocating for some type of fee structure for park use. This is particularly disturbing as the main user of China Camp are bikers and right now, they ride FOR FREE.
It seems clear from the above that the MCBC bike patrol is therefore a smokescreen to foster an image of concern for the open space and thereby create in the public mind the impression that mountain biking advocates are actually doing something positive for the trails that they destroy.

Here's some recent photographic evidence of trail destruction at China Camp.

There are numerous spots like these at China Camp.

The next set of photos reveal an actively used illegal bike trail at China Camp. There are a number of these throughout the State Park.

If you are disturbed by the continued destruction by bikes of the trail system in China Camp State Park, please call the Marin District manager for the California State Parks, Danita Rodriguez at, 415-898-4362 ex 15