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Dick Spotswood: SMART ‘transit hub’ housing won’t lessen carbon footprint

September 24, 2012

By Dick Spotswood : Special to the IJ : marinij,com – excerpt

SAN RAFAEL is now considering changing the zoning within one-half mile of the new Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Civic Center station.

The idea is to allow the construction of four- to five-story, high-density condominiums and apartments designed to take advantage of this new “transit hub.”

The train station, scheduled to open by early 2015, is at the intersection of McInnis Parkway and Civic Center Drive, near the Embassy Suites Hotel.

Some neighbors claim the changes will permit new residential development far more massive than anything in the area. They fear that new zoning will result in increased traffic congestion precipitating more problems than solved.

The planned “up-zoning” is the product of the Civic Center Station Area Advisory Committee. It’s now been accepted by San Rafael’s City Council.

Of course, these changes were instigated by pressure from the Association of Bay Area Governments and housing activists.

These good people believe that many of the worlds’ problems will be solved by building evermore housing of both the market-rate and subsidized variety.

ABAG’s touting high-density housing near all transit stations is based, in part, on a belief encoded in SB 375 of 2008, that development adjacent to transit will curtail global warming-producing carbon emission. The theory is that those new residents will, ipso facto, travel by transit and not by car.

High-density housing might make sense in north San Rafael under limited circumstances. But basing new construction on the belief that this particular rail station will be a “transit hub” is ridiculous….

That expected new residents in this supposedly transit-adjacent development cannot practically forsake their cars is one more example of the unruly public not doing what faith-based planners wanted them to do.

On the other hand, if ABAG and housing activists are just using an environmental rationale as an excuse to facilitate the big-scale residential development they have wanted all along, then it all makes sense…(more)

The idea that we should embrace unbridled dense population growth along transit corridors to control carbon emissions is patently false. The California Air Resources Board reports that we are at a 20 year low in carbon emissions largely because of the switch from coal. Why is the media ignoring that report? See this link for details: https://zrants.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/report-carbon-emissions-lowest-in-20-years/

Carbon emissions are not the only problems we need to concern ourselves with where population density is concerned. Marin County established a controlled growth policy to protect a limited water supply. Changing the policy to a accept denser growth will acerbate that problem. Don’t let them change it.

There is also a movement afoot to destroy Hetch Hetchy, the gravity fed system to supplies 20% of SF electric power and fresh water which has been in place since the 1930’s. Who wants to eliminate SF’s clean electric power and demolish the water supply? That party wears a green mask and is parading around as an environmentalist. Find who benefits financially and you will find who is financing these so-called environmentalists who seek to eliminate the sensible growth policies that have protect Marin and SF for decades.

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