Durable Growth, Government

Sometimes developers aren’t the problem

Burdell Building and nearby SMART tracks

Building upon my recent theme that land developers are sometimes pilloried unfairly, with even urbanist icon Jane Jacobs having been splattered by anti-developer sentiment, I’ll write about two proposed projects in my town of Petaluma. From my urbanist perspective, neither project would meet the long-term needs of my […]

Durable Growth

Dealing with the spectre of “cumulative impacts”

Walkable urban setting in Petaluma

The term “cumulative impacts” had an unfortunate effect on my formative years as a water resources engineer. The psychological impacts were painful enough that I still twitch when I hear the phrase. Or even when I only feel it in the air.

Earlier this week, I twitched a lot. […]

Durable Growth, Transportation

A towering surf of common sense crashes against an adamantine cliff of codes and regulations

Track crossing location

A few days ago, I wrote about an upcoming hearing on a proposed at-grade crossing in Santa Rosa.

The proposed crossing would confirm and reopen an existing pedestrian/bicycle connection between the two halves of Jennings Avenue, passing over railroad tracks that were recently returned to use. It was a crossing that, […]

Durable Growth, Transportation

Supporting SMART by attacking the last mile with buses

Petaluma Transit bus in downtown Petaluma

In a few days, I’ll help introduce some clever and insightful ideas of others, proving one more time that it’s better to be associated with clever people than to be clever oneself.

My opportunity to bask in the reflected glow of others will come when I chair a […]

Durable Growth, Transportation

Making good urbanist decisions with less kerfuffle

Typical pedestrian rail crossing

Coming up in days is a public hearing in Santa Rosa on a proposed Jennings Avenue pedestrian crossing of the railroad tracks. The hearing is worth the attention of those who support walkable urbanism. But urbanists should also be concerned about the extended process that led to the hearing, a […]

Site News

Unwinding by playing at art critic

Water Street

Life has been full over the last few days. Encouraging folks in the North Bay to attend the recent Urban Community Partnership/StrongTowns/Urban3 meetings in Santa Rosa, participating in the meetings myself, and beginning the foundation for next steps, all while feeling a bit under the weather.

There’s a need to begin talking […]

Durable Growth

StrongTowns: Quibbling on the details

Downtown Petaluma

To recapitulate recent posts, I continue to encourage North Bay readers to attend one or more of upcoming public meetings with StrongTowns and Urban3. The meetings, which will be hosted by the Urban Community Partnership, will be the evenings of January 19, 20, and 21 in Santa Rosa. Signups seem to be […]

Durable Growth

StrongTowns: Checking in with the source

Building detail in downtown Petaluma

In my last couple of posts (here and here), I gave a North Bay example of the StrongTowns philosophy on the long-term financial realities of infrastructure. My goal was to encourage North Bay folks, especially those in Petaluma, to attend the upcoming StrongTowns and Urban3 meetings in Santa Rosa. […]

Durable Growth, Transportation

StrongTowns: Why the transportation rationalizations fail

Caltrans project in Petaluma

To recap where I finished my last post, StrongTowns, a land-use planning advocacy group from Minnesota, will visit Santa Rosa in a couple of weeks. I was disappointed that, after banging the StrongTowns drum in the North Bay for three years, the urbanists of Petaluma weren’t included in the planning, […]

Durable Growth, Government

Putting up a strawman inside the community separators

I’ve previously written about the Sonoma County community separators, delineated areas between towns in which only limited land use development is allowed, permitting the towns to retain distinct identities. Supporters of the separators, of whom there are many, point to the undifferentiated development of the South Bay and the Los Angeles Basin as the fate […]