Capdiamont\’s Weblog

Marin’s top issue is no surprise (again): traffic
Tuesday 27 Nov 2007, 11:48
Filed under: NCRA, Railroad

I point out this article, because the top concern is traffic again, and yet they are jumping on the bandwagon of Novato’s Lawsuit against NCRA. Enabling the railroad with both freight and passenger will help traffic, cut pollution. The lawsuit will only serve to delay reopening of the railroad. I think it is too needed to kill it off.

Traffic congestion and Marin’s lack of affordable housing top residents’ list of the “biggest” local issues, according to the results of a county poll.The same two issues topped a similar county poll two years ago, but in the 2007 quiz of 1,000 residents both issues were named more often than they were in 2005.

Results of the poll, a telephone survey conducted in September by Godbe Research of Half Moon Bay to test residents’ satisfaction with local programs and services and to gauge opinion on local issues, were presented Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors.

The poll reflected strong satisfaction with county government, with 87 percent of those questioned saying they were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the job the county is doing.

That’s a 4 percent increase over the 2005 response to the same question.

By far the No. 1 local issue listed by respondents was traffic congestion, singled out by 48 percent. In 2005, 44 percent named it as one of Marin’s two worst problems.

“It’s not a surprise to anyone up here that transportation is No. 1,” said Kinsey, stressing that it reflects the same conclusions reached in numerous Bay Area polls.

The poll was also conducted in the fall, when congestion
on Highway 101 and feeder streets grew worse as construction started on widening the freeway through San Rafael south of Puerto Suello Hill.

When asked what the county should do to solve the problem, 28 percent urged improvements to public transit and 20 percent recommended widening and building new roads.

While there is strong support for improving public transit, that support hasn’t been reflected by ridership, Supervisor Susan Adams said.

“My perception is it’s sort of like pulling teeth to get people to ride public transit,” she said.

The second biggest issue pinpointed in the poll was Marin’s lack of affordable housing, mentioned by 21 percent of respondents.

That’s a slim increase from the 20 percent it got in the 2005 poll.

“We didn’t prompt them. Those are the top two issues, coming off the top of their heads,” said Alice Chan of Godbe Research. Fewer people – 27 percent, down from 33 percent in 2005 – urged the county to solve the problem by building more affordable housing.

While not pinpointed as the biggest issue, 84 percent of respondents said the lack of affordable housing for local residents who work in Marin was important to them. Eighty-one percent said they favor construction of affordable housing in business areas close to transit.

Forty-seven percent indicated they were dissatisfied with the county’s response to the problem.

At the same time, more than half of respondents said they don’t know how to solve it, or said that there is nothing the county can do.

In testing residents’ satisfaction with county services, local law enforcement drew the highest favorable rating, with the combined “very” and “somewhat” satisfied responses hitting 89 percent.

Issues the county needs to do a better job addressing included local job availability, health services for low-income residents, affordable housing, reducing homelessness and the county’s building permit process, according to the poll results.

Kinsey noted that the county is streamlining its building permit procedures and is getting ready to build a $63 million “health and wellness” campus in San Rafael. The county plans to hire an economic development specialist.

“That’s a positive sign that we are on the right track,” he said.

Contact Brad Breithaupt via e-mail at


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[…] On the one hand, Marin residents consider traffic their biggest concern. […]

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