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In Marin / CONVERSATION
on the ground floor and 42 affordable senior
housing units on the upper floors.
What about SMART? The commuter rail line
currently ends in San Rafael, but construction
is underway that will take it down to Larkspur.
How’s that proceeding? I’m also on SMART’s
board so I’ve got a handle on what’s happening there. As you said, SMART’s 43-mile line
down from Santa Rosa ends in San Rafael.
And, by the way, after one year, SMART is
doing well; our goal was to transport 3,000
people a day and we’re now transporting
about that number of riders, and it’s growing.
As for the $55 million extension to near the
Larkspur Landing ferry terminal, it is well
under construction and should be open by late
2020. Of course, that will require moving the
existing Bettini Transportation Center [the
new tracks will bisect the site], which serves
buses, and we’re now looking at five sites in
San Rafael for that center and it looks like it’s
been narrowed down to two nearby locations.
But it will be well into the 2020s before the
transportation center is moved.
On the not-so-bright side, how is the vexing
problem of homelessness evolving? There’s
some good news here too. Working with the
county, we’ve just found housing for the 100th
person under what’s called Coordinated
Entry. This approach turns solving the homeless problem on its head. Instead of housing
the most accommodating of the homeless, we
identified the chronically homeless — the ones
with the most needs, the ones constantly causing problems — and found housing for them.
As I said, 100 of the homeless who generate the
most complaints now have housing and, hope-
fully, will no longer be sleeping on the street.
Marin, I’ve been told, is now on pace to be the
first Bay Area county to end chronic homeless-
ness. That’s good news.
Staying with the homeless, what’s the bad
news? Perhaps of significance to many cities,
including San Rafael, is addressing the consequences of a recent U. S. Court of Appeals for
the 9th Circuit ruling (Martin v. City of Boise)
that basically prohibits enforcement against
any homeless person on public property on
any night when no shelter had an available