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SMART plans Sonoma County airport station

By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Sonoma-Marin passenger rail agency is planning to build a future station at Airport Boulevard, where riders would be just a shuttle ride away from the Sonoma County airport.

The station would become part of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District’s construction of an operations and maintenance facility on 6.6 acres that SMART is buying from the Sonoma County Water Agency.

SMART officials said the airport station would be in addition to the 14 that are already promised.

“It is set up for the future, but I suggest it won’t happen before the Windsor station is built and some other things in the 72-mile plan,” said SMART Chairwoman Valerie Brown. “It will be a board decision. There are a lot of components that will not make it the speediest process, but it is there, it is recognized.”

County Supervisor Mike McGuire, whose district encompasses the airport, said it will be an important transportation link to the Charles M. Schultz-Sonoma County Airport.

An Airport Boulevard station was not in SMART’s initial plans, which were put together before the Sonoma County airport had Alaska Air passenger service.

“SMART is absolutely right to ensure the train will serve Windsor first, that has always been the plan,” McGuire said. “But it is clear via the designation of a new station that this is vitally important to SMART and the county of Sonoma and the North Bay in general.”

The district is buying the site on the southwest corner of Airport Boulevard and the railroad tracks from the Water Agency for $2.7 million.

The facility is expected to cost $15 million and is part of the overall $360 million budget for the Santa Rosa-San Rafael service.

It will be where cars are inspected daily, repaired and cleaned and where dispatchers will manage both SMART’s passenger trains and the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. freight trains.

When service begins in late 2015 or early 2016, there would be about 100 workers at the facility.

“When the board wishes to activate that plan, we will work with the county for a shuttle service,” said SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian. “This makes a lot of sense.”

The purchase was announced Thursday, a week before work is scheduled to begin on SMART’s initial line, from Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa to the Marin County Civic Center, at a cost of $103 million.

An additional contract will provide for an extension from the Civic Center to downtown San Rafael.

The initial operating line would be 38.5 miles, extended to Cloverdale and to Larkspur as future funding becomes available.

The maintenance facility would be 4.5 miles north of Guerneville Road, the northern end of the initial line and 3 miles from where a station would be located in Windsor.

The track between Guerneville Road and Airport Boulevard is sufficient to run the trains at slow speeds, Mansourian said. Rebuilding it would cost $10 million and is not in the current construction budget.





20 Responses to “SMART plans Sonoma County airport station”

  1. Jim Bennett says:

    Steveguy: Amen.
    There’s all kinds of tyranny coming down the ‘bike path’.
    OneBayArea will blow you away.
    Hard to imagine them conceiving it, much less implementing it.

    If they go along to get along, we’re starting a recall petition.
    It’s unconstitutional.
    How come EVERYONE doesn’t know about it?

    Look, the world is run by those that SHOW UP! We’re not showing up.

    Show up on Tues. nights.
    Let’s meet each other.
    Build our community of response-able citizens.
    Let’s look our ‘public servants’ in the eye, share your concerns.
    You’ll see how concerned they look.

    It is time to do things we never thought we’d have to do.
    Or we will have a ‘life style’ we never thought we’d have. I promise you that.

    I never used to get involved, I hate politics.
    This is getting more humanitarian than political.
    Necessity is the mother of invention.
    It is necessary that we reinvent who we are, what we are about.
    What we want to STAND FOR.

    It’s time to have a spine.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  2. Steveguy says:

    @ Jim–

    The Agenda is advancing- the Feds now want to ban kids from working on family farms due to ‘child labor’ laws.

    They want to drive people off the land it seems to live in the stack and pack Smart Growth model that includes the SMART Train style of future society.

    Really, they want to control 4-H even ! Ohh, I forgot, some kid may get hurt on a farm, so let’s end the concept of family farms.

    The new rules would forbid the kids and grandkids of LOCAL owners of vineyards and farms and ranches to do any of the chores or work !

    I can’t hardly believe the intrusion of Government in our lives. Land of the free ? My rear end ! Home of the brave ? Well, we will have to see, but right now we seem top becoming a nation of sheeple.

    This ‘social engineering’ is not good, not good at all.

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  3. Jim Bennett says:

    Skippy: I agree.
    It is a time for choosing.

    Why don’t we start the citizen’s revolution by showing up at City Council?

    Get our objections entered into the administrative record?
    Document our dissent.
    Create a paper trail.
    It’s good to connect with other citizens.

    Besides we could use some company.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  4. DeeDee says:

    @Clay Mitchell
    Its worst then that; Cars will be idling around SMART stations seeking nonexistence parking, before they give up to slug it down the HWY.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  5. Skippy says:

    “Promoting air travel is promoting green house gas.
    Few modes of transportation are less sustainable. In an era when environmentally conscious local planning agencies ban drive through restaurants everything possible should also be done to discourage airplanes.”

    If anyone had any doubt as to the goal of the environazis, this should be enlightening.
    Get out of your car, get off that plane, get on this bus which may eventually take you near a train.
    The State will decide where you go and how you get there.
    Time for a New American Revolution.
    Tear down Big Govt, burn the debris and dance in the smoke.
    Or submit to your Masters.
    It is a time for choosing.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

  6. Clay Mitchell says:

    Dee-Dee-

    I hate to break it to you, but based on the latest publicly released ridership forecast for the SMART train, when you take into account the amount of energy that will be expended to construct the stations, SMART will actually result in a net GHG emission INCREASE over the no-build option.

    And that’s if we accept the flawed methodology on GHG savings related to the project. The vast majority of projected GHG reductions projected from SMART operations are attributed to an assumption that due to SMART’s existence, 16,000 fewer cars would be purchased by local residents, hence 16,000 fewer cars manufactured resulting in a substantial reduction in GHG’s from the energy used to manufacture those vehicles.

    Unless SMART can take a rider virtually everywhere they need to go, it will be a very small percentage of the ridership that decides not to buy a car.

    So linking a train that does nothing to reduce emissions with the airport makes perfect sense!

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  7. DeeDee says:

    Promoting air travel is promoting green house gas. Few modes of transportation are less sustainable. In an era when environmentally conscious local planning agencies ban drive through restaurants everything possible should also be done to discourage airplanes.

    P.S. I know of a prominent local environmentalist that flew his family down to Antarctica to see the effects of global warming first hand. It would have been greener if they had each drove their own SUV round trip.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  8. Clay Mitchell says:

    While I have been an outspoken opponent of the SMART project and bureaucracy as presently constituted, this is actually a good move. A regional transportation system should connect to the airport.

    And I also favor accuracy- the cost listed is for the maintenance facility, not the train station. I don’t know what adding the station will cost, but it’s not $15M. It might be a couple million, or less since they are piggy-backing it on to a facility that they are building anyway.

    But as has been mentioned, they don’t have the money for this, and will most likely be coming back to the taxpayers for more tax money. And the more attractive components that they add to “Phase 2″ the more political carrots they are accumulating to dangle in front of taxpayers who were lied to the first time.

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 7

  9. John Galt says:

    This station is only partially about connecting transportation systems together.

    The other part is buying off the development interests that control the substantial development around the airport/Airport Business Park, who otherwise see SMART is a complete waste. It is a politically astute move- and does make sense from a conceptual standpoint.

    How they designed a “regional transportation system” that didn’t somehow connect to the regional airport is completely beyond me- it took someone like Supervisor McGuire, who is truly advocating for his constituents (and not a member of the unelected and unaccountable SMART Board) to suggest and implement an obvious step that should have been part of the plan from the get-go.

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 5

  10. Jim Bennett says:

    Lots of zeros. $15,000,000.
    Before we make our heads bad again trying to apply common sense.

    Don’t forget.

    ICLEI DELIBERATELY CRASHES.

    Crash the old…
    usher in the new…
    The New World Order.

    It’s not that new.

    It’ll be anything but orderly.

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 11

  11. Grapevines says:

    So doing the math on the train to nowhere we see that if you take the full length of track (if it all gets built which I doubt) and divide it by the planned number of stations or stops, we get a run of 4.7 miles between stops.

    So just when you get the giddy-up a moving, you end up putting on the brakes. Seeing as next to no one will be getting off or getting on, it will be a short stop.

    And if anyone thinks that SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian is concerned about how all this turns out, your dreaming! He’s going to stick with this train wreck only long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel go out and then collect his pension. Which we will have Valerie Brown to thank for.

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 9

  12. Steveguy says:

    So we are paying ourselves to buy our own land that we paid for already..

    With pretty much the same people in charge of both Agencies. Hmm, It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul, when our name is Peter Paul.

    Amazing what they do with OUR money.

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 8

  13. Graeme Wellington says:

    Again, we need a good express bus that runs at the times people need to take a flight and come home from a flight. What is that anyway? Two times a day or so generally considering present traffic? Instead we’re going to spend millions and millions on an airport train station? And it’s going to need a shuttle bus anyway? Can we just cut the millions and millions of tax dollars and provide the shuttle now to where and when it’s needed? It could probably be done at a profit if the bus was comfortable, went to and from where people needed it and wasn’t prohibitively costly. The present buses do stop there – but they don’t run at the times they need to and the routes taken are so roundabout and take so long that no one can practically use them.

    This is a problem that needs fixing and could be cheaply fixed. But a multi-million dollar train station and the security and the maintenance and the pensioned employees – OMG! This is how our leaders solve a simple problem?

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 8

  14. Jason Brown says:

    Are they going to name the Windsor station the Fudge Memorial Platform? Fudge has pulled out all the stops to get the little train going nowhere to stop in or near her realm.

    More welfare for the 1% who build, run and work at the little train.

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 9

  15. Dan W. says:

    There would be more ridership for SCAM if it stopped at the Snoopy Ice Arena.

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 7

  16. David says:

    I’ve not been a fan of a limited service train that gets you semi-near SF or other stops. Without high rider volume, is there going to be a frequent shuttle to the airport? The train has to actually get you to some cations without additional steps involved. How about stoping at the Sutter hospital under construction?

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6

  17. Steveguy says:

    They want, MORE, MORE, MORE, money for a train that doesn’t even exist.

    I am very familiar with the Skunk Train, and this train stinks to high heaven.

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 6

  18. Steveguy says:

    $15 Million ? Are they nuts ?

    What did the existing Windsor station cost ? Why $15 MILLION for ONE station ?

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 6

  19. Jim Bennett says:

    Every time more and more
    ICLEI/Agenda 21/Smart Growth hardscape
    is put in place.
    They have more excuses to take away our choices.
    Where we can live.
    How we get around.

    That’s the whole idea.

    What if.

    What if there’s a shake up?

    A shake down?

    The likes of which we’ve never seen?

    What if we see figures in handcuffs we never thought we would?

    I personally believe (hope?) that day is coming. Soon.

    While I dream, I’m still gonna act.
    Be an active-ist.

    Engage others when I can.

    But know this.

    NO AMOUNT of lip service from our current ‘public servants’ will be sufficiant to EVER allow these people into power again.

    My favorite protest sign won’t say;
    HOW DARE THEY
    (that’s my all purpose sign now).

    It’ll say:
    NEVER AGAIN!
    or
    YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE!

    See, this chapter is a test.

    They failed.

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 10

  20. Kirstin says:

    Everything is always “when the board wishes.” Is the board paying the bills with its own pocket money? Of course not. It is paying everything with taxpayer money. So, why doesn’t the board ask for input from the public and why isn’t the board much more transparent with the public???

    Just remember, unelected board, that you are going to have to come back and ask for more tax revenue from this district, both for building the rest of the line (including the Windsor station and an airport station) and for just basic operations in the future. So, it would behoove you to start a better relationship with the public now if you want to have a prayer of those ordinances getting enough voter approval.

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 8

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