Friday, September 27, 2013

Kristin Shannon : Mt. Tam Task Force Update : Comment Points

Do you want 180 car parking lot above Muir Woods? (Fee $12-12 per car)
Submit Comments to the National Park Service by Friday, October 4, 2013   Comments about proposed 180 car parking
lot off of Panoramic Highway at Diaz Ridge & illegal parking along the shoulder  Parking Reservation & Shuttle bus

The original Mt. Tam Task Force and MAC multi-community advisory group in 2004 appointed by Kinsey & county supervisors (co-chairs Thompson & Shannon) was organized to provide solutions to park proposals. Priority #1:

 “The overriding objective of all projects undertaken on Mt. Tamalpais is to leave our descendants an intact natural ecosystem where the natural beauty and rural characteristics of the landscape is maintained.”

BUT Muir Woods preservation, a congressionally mandated NPS duty, is not a key “need” for the Diaz Ridge project which was off the table in 2005, says website.

NPS/GGNRA spokesman Sept. 18th and the website describe the “NEED” for two tightly-coupled projects (a reservation system + more illegal and extended parking, plus 180 new parking places—the size of Mill Valley Safeway parking lot) as:

1. TRAFFIC CONTROL: Reduce traffic congestion near Muir Woods
2. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION at Muir Woods: NPS marketing studies show that “visitor experience is reduced when there are more than 3000-3500 people per day.”

Question: Do these projects, already underway, solve those “need” problems?
Answer: No!

1. Present TRAFFIC problems occur at two places, Muir Woods and Tam Valley gateway; this project offers a 3rd place for congestion. Proposed project would first add more informal (illegal and unsafe) shoulder parking on Panoramic, then add 180 cars, bathrooms, and a shuttle bus turn around on DIAZ Ridge. The projects plan to CONTINUE the 475 illegal shoulder parking places along Redwood creek, and do nothing to reduce congestion at Tam Valley gateway.

Adding NPS buses will both remove local control and reduce revenue to Marin. Out-sourcing contracts to PRIVATE concessionaires provides financial incentives to increase, not limit, visitor load on Muir Woods.

Two free and legal immediate steps to solve traffic problems:

1. County can now enforce EXISTING parking laws along the county road as originally agreed (Park service gets $15-$30 for each of 400 illegally parked cars)

2. Add better parking & enforcement information to EXISTING 101 highway digital signs and to park service websites
2. How can we start a RESERVATION system or add more buses if we do not have agreed goals for realistic and sustainable visitor loads on Muir Woods? Without a realistic CAP on paying customers, we have no clear targets. Project proposes to add a reservation system starting in 2014 that is contingent on keeping current 475 illegal and unsafe shoulder parking places and adding 50-60 more on Diaz Ridge.

Several communities have met and voted on these action items below. 
Feel free to include these items in your comments.
We would like to see:
1. Immediate extension of the absurdly short public comment period from Oct 4th to January 14th
2. Immediate enforcement of safe and legal parking along Redwood Creek (This is something the county can do right away!) 
There are 475 illegally parked cars every weekend, sending pollutants into Redwood Creek Salmon run. Park service earns $15 to $30 for each illegal car ($10,000) BUT Marin County responsible for the road repairs.
3. Immediately freeze consultant contracts for these projects slated to begin in 2014.
4. Establish a respectful public comment process with a system to include concerned and informed citizen groups, environmentalists, public safety experts
5. Make long term health of Muir Woods the top priority, as Kent, the original donor, intended. A true capacity evaluation for the long term health of Muir Woods should be conducted BEFORE adding more parking lots and buses. 6. Set up independent and transparent posting of the public comment on a website
7. Post the positive conclusions & public recommendations from the original 2 years of public debate on prior NPS transit recommendations on both the GGNRA and Marin websites.
8. Retain local control and oversight. Cutting out local oversight and revenue sharing with county now on shuttle bus will permanently give control to NPS.
9. Make the budget TRANSPARENT and public for this project (funds already spent plus planned). We want the names of consultants already hired.

Kristin Shannon
Muir Beach Resident

1 comment:

  1. Aww, Kristin,

    Does this mean you're opposed to the Ferris wheel, water slide, hot dog stands, lion burger restaurant, and the shooting gallery?