The Coastal Post - September, 1997

Countywide Transit Plan Moving

BY KAREN NAKAMURA

The Marin Countywide Planning Agency is convening a steering committee that will make recommendations to the Planning Agency and Board of Supervisors for implementation of a "multi-modal" transportation program. The planning agency consists of such luminaries as Harry Moore representing the county, Peter Breen for San Anselmo and Al Boro representing San Rafael. The wheeler-dealers are talking turkey about getting the transportation mess under control. It should be fun to watch if you're a political junky.

Backers hope funds to finance the undertaking will be approved by voters in a sales tax measure due to appear on the November, 1998 election ballot.

The steering committee will use the Sonoma/Marin Multi-Modal Transportation and Land Use Study prepared by Caltrope Associates as a departure point. They'll then begin detailed recommendations for a comprehensive county-wide transportation program. The needs of rail, highway, road, bus, paratransit, bicycle and pedestrian will be considered.

The steering committee will have five town council members, two Board of Supervisors members and 16 citizen members from the following categories: large employers, 1 member; small employers, 1; paratransit, 1; environmental groups, 2; League of Women Voters, 1; construction/real estate, 1; housing advocates, 1; transportation (bikes, rail, auto), 3; at-large, 5. Members have been chosen in their respective communities. The steering committee will start meeting intensively in September and will continue until January, '98 when the committee's recommendations will be summitted to the Countywide Planning Agency.

One immediate point bears noting: The paratransit community met in the middle of August to select a representative. Cookie Delagnes from Senior Access, Ed Ryken of Whistlestop and a quadraplegic named Bill Lipscomb were nominated. As a disabled person who's used Marin County transportation for years, Lipscomb understands the perspective of the disabled and can well represent their particular needs. Ed Ryken, CEO of the Marin Senior Coordinating Council, which runs Whistlestop Wheels, was voted to the position. The organization has 70 vehicles and is a huge operation. It deserves a seat.

However, the immediate result is that the direct voice of the disabled has been silenced by a purveyor of a transportation system the disabled community might wish to challenge. Hopefully, the Planning Agency will take steps to ensure there's a place at the table for a member of the disabled community. Certainly it's their intent to have that segment of the community heard.

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