WatchSonoma Watch

SMART board OKs rail station near Rohnert Park Expressway


The final approvals have been given to build a commuter rail station near Rohnert Park Expressway in Rohnert Park, the closest thing that city has to being a downtown civic center.

“That is the center of Rohnert Park,” said city Councilwoman Gina Belforte. “Logistically, it makes much more sense than being on the northern side of town,” the initial proposed site for the station at Wilfred Avenue near Highway 101.

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District board on Wednesday approved the station site, which is on city-owned land along Seed Farm Drive between Rohnert Park Expressway and Enterprise Drive, which would be the access point to a 130-space parking lot.

The site has 2,800 homes in its vicinity, is next to the vacant State Farm Insurance building, across the street from city library, police station and City Center Plaza, near east-west pedestrian and bicycle paths and a few blocks from a major shopping center.

“It is where downtown Rohnert Park will be; it is moving the station to plan for the future,” said SMART board member Debora Fudge, who is mayor of Windsor.”

SMART has begun work on an initial 38.5-mile commute rail system from Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa to downtown San Rafael, with service to start in late 2014 or early 2015.

The Rohnert Park station will cost $500,000 more to build than a station at the Wilfred Avenue site, an increase that has been included in SMART’s construction budget.

If SMART in the future decides to create vehicle access to the station from Rohnert Park Expressway, it would require a stop light and cost an additional $750,000.

Officials said the station could spur the development of the State Farm Insurance site, which has been vacant since last summer.

“What the city wants is something that can really open that site. What we would like is something that will have a business component, create jobs, and have some shopping,” Belforte said. “It is 33 acres, you can do a lot with the property. It is significant.”

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or bob.norberg@pressdemocrat.com.

13 Responses to “SMART board OKs rail station near Rohnert Park Expressway”

  1. Graeme Wellington says:

    How Americans want to fix traffic jams:


    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  2. Western Cluebird says:

    John Reed aka Eric Newman says,

    “Now that the repeal campaign is behind us, SMART can dedicate its attention to the engineering work and not to fighting off an unnecessary and destructive political attack. Finally, this train is rolling.”

    So all the brilliant SMART engineers and managers can’t walk and chew gum at the same time?
    By the way, in case you havn’t noticed, the train is NOT rolling, unless all the overpaid SMART employees are just sitting around playing with the little model train shown in the picture.

    You have really cleaned up your rhetoric since you were posting as Eric Newman, but it is still the same drivel.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  3. Paying Attention says:

    I am confused.

    Our politicians can dump money into something that is not needed, but their hands are tied when it comes to taking care of the current residents who are struggling to put food on their tables?

    And I hope I didn’t read that we will be taxed again to take care of the issues we have with our school budget.

    Where are their priorities?

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

  4. bill me says:

    Since the State Farm building is empty and Rohnert Park would love to get it occupied, this location for a train station is based on sound economic development ideas. All of you who normally click thumbs down will do so, but what is your “better” idea to make the State Farm building more attractive?

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  5. Ted Neal says:

    I was just a kid, but I remember when no one was on HWY 101. If we had the lack of fore site then like some of the opinions of people posting about the SMART train now, where would we be? Still on a two lane roads in traffic jams to Ukiah.

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  6. John Parnell says:

    It’s so nice that the mayor of Windsor has decided for Rohnert Park where their downtown will be.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  7. John Reed says:

    As predicted, and promised by the SMART GM, Farhad Mansourian, the entire line is getting built out, stage by stage. Now that the repeal campaign is behind us, SMART can dedicate its attention to the engineering work and not to fighting off an unnecessary and destructive political attack. Finally, this train is rolling.

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  8. Grapevines says:

    Lets put a stop in every couple of blocks so that this money trap to traintown takes days to make one complete trip.

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 6

  9. Jim Bennett says:

    It’s like a bad dream.
    Our local government has terminal cancer,
    and they think it’s a tummy ache.

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 12

  10. John Lennon says:

    Fantastic , A empty train going trough town to drop you off at your Job in San Rafeal???

    Yeah, every commutes to San Rafeal to work, thats where all the jobs are,lol

    This is the biggest scam in the history of california.

    Fact. Commuter buses to San Franscico are cheaper, more efficient, more effective and more green than the unsustainable gas guzzlin diesel. The Smart board is commiting white collar crime.

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  11. Joseph says:

    “There was always an understanding that this draft plan would be reviewed and critiqued, and nobody will be able to say that there was not a thorough critique of the plan,” Duran said. “Nothing of this magnitude and importance gets built without overcoming some sharp criticism and tough obstacles.”

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  12. J.R. Wirth says:

    Yep, Rohnert Park Expressway, across from the vacant State Farm building, the center of Rohnert Park, the beating heart of a vibrant downtown RP scene, the Times Square of Sonoma County.

    If we close our eyes and open our imaginations, Sonoma County is not a rural county where commuter rail will never work, but a hip, urban destination in desperate need of mass transit.

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  13. Isn’t that about 1.2 miles from the useless Cotati station? That will make this dumpy little toy even more of a Toonerville Trolley.

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 18

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