|County unveils plan for reducing traffic
By Mark Prado
Marin County officials have crafted a 25-year, $1.5 billion plan to attack one
of Marin's most vexing problems: traffic.
The county's Congestion Management Agency has released "Moving Forward: A
Transportation Vision for Marin County," a review of studies on various
modes of transportation: cars, buses, trains, ferries, bicycles and walking.
The upshot: It will take $1.5 billion to complete a wide-ranging program to
improve congestion around the county. The problem: existing money can cover $367
million, leaving a gap of more than $1.1 billion over the next 25 years.
The draft plan does address ways additional money can be raised, primarily with
a county sales tax, although state and federal funding would be part of the mix
"This plan is a working tool intended to be distributed broadly within the
community leading to our first-ever comprehensive transportation planning
strategy," said Supervisor Steve Kinsey, chairman of the CMA. "It
brings all the (transportation) studies together into one document and lays out
a financial blueprint on how to move forward in a prioritized way."
County officials say planning is key.
Studies show the number of times people hop in their cars will approach 1
million a year by 2020, far outpacing job and population growth.
The bottom line is Marin residents are on the move, going to work, to school,
shopping and getting together with friends and family and improvements are
needed to avoid massive gridlock.
Among some of the report's conclusions:
- A commuter rail service could carry more than 5,000 daily riders.
- The Novato Narrows widening project would allow for
faster express bus service.
- Added ferry service will be beneficial if linked with rail service.
- Improvements to local bus and shuttle service are key in linking
different modes of transportation.
- Bike and pedestrian facilities improvements could increase trips by 20
The report concludes no one form of transportation will provide an answer to
congestion problems; it will take a combination of freeway projects and
additional bus service, ferry runs, bike and pedestrian paths to ease traffic.
The public will be able to comment on the draft plan before a final report is
issued, Kinsey said.
"This will generate a public dialogue," Supervisor Annette Rose said.
"We have done a lot of work in a lot of areas and now it's time to look at
all of them together. It's a multi-modal plan that should make it easier for all
of us to get around in Marin."