Friday, June 22, 2012

Here Comes the Concrete

End of an Era : Phase One Section One Concrete to Be Poured today.
Historic Homestead Valley's Evergreen Avenue, is being physically altered forever, with addition of an impervious concrete slab, with curbs and gutters - at the request of Marin Horizon School - despite many requests by Homestead residents and property owners, who use Evergreen everyday - that it not be built.

So WHY is COUNTY forcing the million dollar slab onto Evergreen Ave. - which will admittedly EXACERBATE STORM WATER RUNOFF FLOODING ISSUES for some homeowners - and add pollutants to Reed Creek - home of federally protected Steel head?
1) BAD PLANNING - a sidewalk design based on FEDERAL FUNDING REQUIREMENTS - NOT based on the needs and desires of our community. Tamalpais Area Community Plan states : "we do not encourage sidewalks, curbs and gutters in the Planning Area." This guideline is not just aesthetic, its purpose is to protect public property and wildlife downstream. (more info)
2) BAD PROCESS - Evergreen residents should have been brought into the process early on, but were not. Marin County granted itself a "Categorical Exemption" from CEQA for existing facilities - when this is NEW CONSTRUCTION and NO EXEMPTION is allowed near sensitive creek habitat.
3) BAD POLITICS - Marin Horizon School cannot coax its clients to walk four blocks - this request for a sidewalk may have been well intentioned, but it is an attempt at traffic abatement, so MHS can adhere to the requirements of its Conditional Use Permit. Whether or not it will succeed remains to be seen. Regardless, the needs and wants of a private transient school are being favored - once again - over the needs and desires of Homestead residents and property owners.
4) BUREAUCRACY - County's view : SR2S is a "funding mechanism" to subsidize DPW road maintenance budget - Safe Routes to Schools is giving Marin County $900,000 to build a sidewalk along Evergreen - because Marin Horizon School is located at the end of Evergreen Avenue. FEDERAL FUNDING GRANT PROCESS TOOK SEVERAL YEARS, so whether or not we NEED a sidewalk, we are getting a sidewalk, because County already spent some of the money and they want to be reimbursed for funds already spent. Decision is based on BUDGET, NOT ETHICS. 
Grant is being awarded to an application KNOWN to contain false and misleading information. i.e., "minor incident" to justify "danger" to pedestrians happened on Evergreen in Mill Valley, where a sidewalk already exists.
FACT : Evergreen is already a "complete street" - it has been used by all modes of motorized and non-motorized transportation for many years - and has a 100% safety record.
If Marin County would give the DPW funding for a GREEN STREETS/LIVING STREETS pilot project - to make low cost, high benefit improvements to this green street, we could see a way out of this mess - for all stakeholders - without need for additional litigation against the County or MHS - or worse - irreversible harm to persons or property.
Contracts are altered every day.
Overheard in Homestead :
Why is this contract with Ghilotti Brothers worth more than preserving the physical characteristics and shared road use patterns of a 100% SAFE STREET?

Or worth more than what Evergreen property owners want?
WE LIVE HERE. WHY DO OUTSIDERS HAVE MORE SAY THAN WE DO?
Why are you changing what WORKS? Why not just fix what needs fixing?
Is this grant money  - awarded to an application full of LIES - worth more than someone's life? Where are the hydrology reports? Why are citizens being stonewalled when asking for public information?
Why do we have FIVE supervisors when they all play follow the leader??