Library Study Group on Land-Use
and Transportation

On Saturday, March 10, 2001, about 30 environmentalists met at the Sonoma County Library in Santa Rosa to develop consensus on what transportation and land-use policies the Sonoma County Transportation Land-Use Coalition should support. Sebastopol Mayor Larry Robinson facilitated the discussion. Notice of the meeting was widely transmitted via email to environmental groups including Transland, Conservation Action, GreenAction, SOCO, Riverissues.

CONSENSUS
There was consensus to support the following principles and goals.

Overarching Principles

1. Develop transportation and land-use policies that create developments with a sense of community, and that reduce and even eliminate auto-dependency.

2. Reframe housing and transportation issues: from “building housing” to “housing people,” from “providing transportation” to “moving people and goods.”

3. Find the means to fund public transit operations.

Specific Goals

Create Livable/Walkable Communities

  • Mixed-use developments with housing, jobs and services within walking distance of each other.
  • Housing affordable for people with very low, low, moderate and above moderate incomes within walking distance of job sites.
  • Residential development downtown
  • Housing developments and job sites need good access to public transit
  • Return to tradition street patterns (grid system)

Intra-county transit needs to be improved

  • Greatly expanded bus service
  • All transit systems coordinated, one pass for all
  • More efficient Paratransit

Reduce the “drive and park" advantage

  • Parking cash-out and other transportation demand management tools
  • No more “free” parking—anywhere
  • Make shopping centers support local shuttles.
  • Make future parking lots serve dual purposes, i.e., part of retail, commercial and/or housing on top.
  • Remove parking requirements from the development and put responsibility on the driver.
  • Provide tax and other incentives to reduce vehicle use.
    Eliminate hidden subsidies for autos.

SMART start-up

  • Stops need to be part of high-density communities and town centers
  • Minimize park-and-ride adjacent to stops
  • No stops between urban areas
  • Needs to be part of a comprehensive multi-modal system

Improve walkways and bikeways

  • Implement countywide bike plan
  • Implement city bike plans

Keep rural roads safe and calm

  • Create Heritage Road designation
  • Put money into maintenance, not widening and straightening

Support an initiative or referendum

  • to support bikeways, and walkways
  • to fund expanded transit operations

NO CONSENSUS
The following were proposed but were controversial and received no consensus:
Widening 101: there was moderate support because it’s going to happen anyway.
Create “personal rapid transit” (PRT): only one vocal advocate, expensive, PRT is like S-O-V.
Toll lane for the Narrows: some strong feelings for it but not much public support.
Ferry from Sonoma: environmentally controversial, expensive. Needs more study.
Ferry connection with rail at San Quentin: expensive, encouraging commute to SF is the wrong direction.

FUTURE ISSUES

GARVEE Bonds will be considered by the Sonoma County Transportation Authority as a means to fund 101 widening from Windsor River Road to Lakeville Highway in Petaluma. Federal and State laws allow them to borrow perhaps $100 million or more against anticipated gas tax revenue far into the future. Our position on this needs to be determined