Durable Growth, Safety, Transportation

Were none of us ever kids?

I recently recounted the story of a Petaluma land use hearing during which I missed an opportunity to suggest a project change that should have been obvious to me as an urbanist.

The hearing addressed a proposed apartment complex. An element of the project was repainting the fronting street to reduce the travel lanes from […]


Will anything ever change in Marin?

Not again. Image from KRON4 News

With the death of Aura Celeste Machado on Point San Pedro Road in San Rafael still fresh in our minds, neighbors and safe streets activists are again calling for traffic calming on the high-speed thoroughfare. But they did the same two years ago when a driver killed Hailey […]

Safety, Transportation

San Rafael must get a handle on pedestrian deaths

A New York City intersection before and after treatment. Image from NYCDOT

Four people have suffered violent, brutal deaths in San Rafael in the past nine months. Each one was entirely preventable, each one caused by what should have been a simple mistake that happened to have been made in traffic.

Traffic is the […]

Safety, Transportation

Red light cameras are good policy gone wrong

by Yousuf Fahimuddin, on Flickr

Red light cameras have been deployed around the country to great effect, reducing crashes dramatically in New York City and Washington, DC. Given these successes in the East, it was natural for San Rafael to give them a try. But police said they were ineffective at reducing crashes, and […]

Safety, Transportation

An entirely preventable death in San Rafael

The place of the crash. Image from Google Streetview.

Someone lost a daughter last week. Olga Rodriguez was killed by a driver while crossing the street in downtown San Rafael. Though her unnamed walking companion survived, he’s in the hospital with serious injuries. The driver, who stayed on the scene and is cooperating fully […]


Who can fix urban crime rates?

Urban street in New York City

In my last post, I wrote about how we may intuitively, but probably wrongly, assume that urban places are more dangerous than suburban places. At least one data set points the other way.

However, that data set was non-illness deaths. Deaths are certainly an indicator of personal safety, […]


Perceptions of urban risk

Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Bridge

Five years ago today, I was in New York City. I was in the midst of a ten-day trip to view ballgames in Major League ballparks that I hadn’t yet seen.

Before the trip was over, I saw games in Fenway Park, Shea Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Camden Yards, […]

Safety, Transportation

Paint a crosswalk, go to prison

The offending crosswalk. Image from VPD.

Last Thursday, Anthony Cardenas was arrested by Vallejo police for felony vandalism. For a city known to have some crime problems, this wouldn’t be much of a story had it not been how Cardenas had vandalized state property. Cardenas is in prison for painting one crosswalk and adding […]

Durable Growth, Safety

Playing in the street

I think it was the summer before my eighth grade year when my streetball days reached their zenith.

Many days, a handful of boys from our block would play a version of baseball. Although the subdivision was only a few years old, there were no nearby parks. The nearest ball diamond was in a schoolyard […]

Government, Safety

Fixing bad adjacencies: The new stimulus?

From Google Maps. Click to enlarge.

Many folks were undoubtedly shocked when they learned that the Texas fertilizer plant fire and explosion was close to a rest home and a middle school. In the map at right, the middle school is immediately southwest of the plant and the rest home, with the grey roofs, […]