SMART passenger service is up and running and exceeding expectations!
Phase One of SMART passenger service launched on August 25, 2017. Phase One service includes 43 miles of service from Downtown San Rafael to Airport Blvd north of Santa Rosa and 10 stations: three in Santa Rosa (Airport Blvd, Guerneville Rd and Railroad Square), one in Rohnert Park (Rohnert Park Expressway), one in Cotati (East Cotati Ave), one in Petaluma (Downtown), two in Novato (San Marin/Atherton and Hamilton), and two in San Rafael (Marin Civic Center and Downtown).
Looking towards extending service beyond Phase One, the San Rafael to Larkspur extension is currently under construction with plans to begin service in 2019. This includes a 2.2-mile link from downtown San Rafael to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, providing a regional link to get commuters into San Francisco. Additional expansion of service will include Windsor, Healdsburg, and Cloverdale. Once completed, the full project will provide 70 miles of passenger rail service.
SMART and the City of Novato have approved the addition of a third station in downtown Novato. The Downtown Station will be located at the historic Depot site, near the corner of Railroad Avenue at the easternmost end of Grant Avenue. This project is underway and is expected to be completed by early-2019. Once the station construction is completed, SMART will determine the Novato Downtown Station schedule based on ridership demand.
In January SMART was awarded $10.5 million in funding through the State Rail Assistance program, funded by Senate Bill 1. With this funding, SMART was able to increase its passenger rail service to 34 trips each weekday and 10 trips on Saturdays and Sundays. With growing demand, SMART also recently expanded its two-car train set to three-cars during some of its peak commute times.
SMART’s railcars were built at the Nippon Sharyo Passenger Railcar Factory in Rochelle, Illinois. They were built to fully comply with federal Buy America requirements and represent the state-of-the-art in self-propelled passenger trains for fuel efficiency, noise levels, air quality and value. In addition, they set new standards for safety, exceeding Federal Railroad Administration safety standards with the addition of crash energy management technology.
For scheduling and ticket information, visit the SMART website.
My Participation on the SMART Board
I joined the SMART Board of Directors in January 2009, shortly after the passage of Measure Q; served as Chair for four years, including the year service was launched; and am currently serving as Vice Chair.
My approach since joining the SMART board in 2009 has been this: whether or not someone voted for the train, we are all paying for it, and everyone’s interests are the same. Taxpayers deserve prudent management of their dollars, transparency regarding finances, and an approach that serves the most communities.
As a SMART Board member, I have emphasized the importance of being proactive in communicating with the public. I am proud to have successfully pushed to have all SMART Board meetings live webcasted (and video archived), which can be accessed via the SMART website.
I will continue to make sure the SMART project moves forward in a measured manner in which costs are carefully monitored, savings are maximized, funding opportunities are closely pursued and the public has consistent access to all available information as we work on your behalf to continue to make SMART a success.