Durable Growth

Taking the next step – Opportunities to get involved during the week of July 3

Pedestrian bridge toward downtown Petaluma

Pedestrian bridge toward downtown Petaluma

Next week will be a short week, but concludes on a high note with another opportunity to hear Chuck Marohn in the Bay Area.  A pedestrian/bicycle meeting in Petaluma also offers chances for meaningful discussion, with many urbanist-related topics on its agenda.  As always, it’s a great time to add your voice to the urbanist conversation.

Meetings this Week

Petaluma Pedestrian/Bicycle Advisory Committee, Wednesday, July 6, 6:00pm, Petaluma City Hall, 11 English Street, Petaluma – The meeting agenda includes review of a residential project adjoining the proposed location for the Corona Road SMART station, the SMART bike parking study, a possible bike-share program, and a Caltrans bike/ped plan.  Additionally, although not noted on the agenda, the City Engineer has reportedly agreed to provide update on the Pacifica transit-oriented development project and the possible Petaluma Boulevard South road diet.

Novato Design Review Commission, Wednesday, July 6, 7:30pm, Novato City Hall, 901 Sherman Avenue, Novato – A public workshop will be conducted on a proposed hotel at the corner of Redwood Boulevard and Wood Hollow Drive.  The site is far from downtown, but is only a thousand marginally walkable feet from the Atherton SMART station, giving it a faint tinge of possible urbanism.

Recession Generation Conference, Saturday July 9, 10:00am, Omni Oakland Commons, 4799 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland – Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns will speak about strategies to navigate a post-recession world.  And he’ll be speaking to a younger group than his typical audience, which might open the door to an effective question and answer session.  For anyone who hasn’t previously heard Marohn speak, this is a good opportunity.

Meetings in the Weeks and Months to Follow

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, Monday,  July 11, 9:00am, Santa Rosa City Hall, 100 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa – SMART staff will introduce the proposals received for transit-oriented development on SMART-owned property adjoining the downtown Santa Rosa station.

Petaluma Urban Chat, Wednesday, July 13, 7:00pm, Aqus Café, 2nd and H Streets, Petaluma – Urban Chat will discuss the proposed Petaluma Boulevard South road diet and also establish a plan of discussion topics for future meetings.

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, Tuesday, July 19, 8:30pm, Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, 575 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa – The Supervisors will take up proposed revisions to the Sonoma County greenbelts, lands that are limited to less intensive uses to retain agriculture and open spaces and to provide separations between communities.  Greenbelts and urbanism are two sides of the same coin, with greenbelts pushing development toward urban areas and urbanism being the study of how to accommodate that development.

I was briefed earlier this week by the Regional Director for Greenbelt Alliance on the status of the revisions and was pleased by how many areas were under serious consideration for new inclusion.  But it’s the Board of Supervisors, starting on July 19, who will make the final decisions.

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Board, Wednesday, July 20, 5401 Old Redwood Highway, Petaluma – The agenda for the SMART Board meeting won’t be announced for another couple of weeks, but with the full schedule testing looming closer and revenue service shortly after that, the agenda is likely to include items of urbanist interest.

Rail~Volution, October 10-12, Hyatt Regency, San Francisco – The leading conference on the use of rail for community building is coming to San Francisco this fall.

Other Opportunities to Get Involved

Petaluma Boulevard South – Bikeable/walkable revisions to Petaluma Boulevard South recently flickered onto and off of the Petaluma City Council agenda.  A group of citizens was energized by the flicker and is organizing to ensure that the subject of calming Petaluma Boulevard South returns to the City Council with enough votes to approve it.

If you’re interested in advocating for improvements to Petaluma Boulevard South that will make the street more friendly for non-motorists and will allow better connectivity between the residential areas southwest of the street and the retail/recreational opportunities to the northeast, let me know.  I’ll get you in touch with the group, in which I’m participating.

Digging Deeper into Urbanism – Many readers attended three evening of talks by Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns and Joe Minicozzi of Urban3 last January in Santa Rosa.  They spoke about the theory of why suburbia often fails and the analysis that supports the theory.  Initial conversations are underway for a return visit by Marohn and Minicozzi to the North Bay later this year, a visit that is tentatively expected to include time in Petaluma and other Sonoma County communities.

Petaluma was well-represented at the January meetings, but it was largely urbanists who were already familiar with the work of Marohn and Minicozzi.  If we organize properly, having the two of them visit Petaluma can be an opportunity to educate others who hold positions from which they can make a difference.  And having the visit fall during the election season can make the visit additionally pivotal.

I’ll need folks to assist with organizational and fund-raising efforts.  Please let me know if you’re willing to lend a hand.

Lots of opportunities to get involved.  Please grab at least one and hopefully more.

When I next publish, I’ll try to summarize recent insights about urbanism and the electoral process.

As always, your questions or comments will be appreciated.  Please comment below or email me.  And thanks for reading. – Dave Alden (davealden53@comcast.net)

Written by Dave Alden

Dave Alden

Dave Alden is a Registered Civil Engineer. A University of California graduate, he has worked on energy and land-use projects in California, Oregon, and Washington. He was also the president of a minor league baseball team for two seasons. He lives on the west side of Petaluma with his wife and two dogs. The blog that he writes can be found at http://northbaydesignkit.blogspot.com.

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