WatchSonoma Watch

Elevated rails for SMART crossing near Coddingtown ‘not viable’


Raising the train tracks to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross under them near Coddingtown is probably not feasible.

Instead, city staff is recommending that Santa Rosa study either building a bridge over the tracks or ground level crossing gates to help get people across the tracks.

“The option where they go under the tracks is too expensive, too time-consuming and not viable,” said Rick Moshier, the city’s director of transportation and public works.

Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit had planned to just fence off Jennings Avenue on both sides of the tracks to prevent people from crossing there, something many people are in the habit of doing.

But the city wanted to find a safe way for people to cross the tracks after light rail service commences, and in August agreed to spend up to $200,000 to study the options.

A report by SMART and its contractors looked at four options for the crossing: A fence or barrier wall, an at-grade crossing, an ADA compliant overcrossing or an ADA compliant undercrossing.

None of the options are great, Moshier said.

“It’s a daunting project,” he said.

The undercrossing proved most challenging largely because of the timing. Contractors were expected to begin work on that section earlier this month, according to SMART officials.

The idea was to raise the rail bed by 10 feet to ensure pedestrians didn’t have to step down more than 2.5 feet. But the report indicated the track height and long retaining walls required to raise the track could present visual impact on neighboring properties. It also noted there would be drainage issues in the undercrossing that would have to be resolved.

The overcrossing might present other challenges. The concept would involve two 310-foot-long ramps needed to get people up to a bridge 25 feet above the ground. This would also present visual impacts to neighbors, the report noted.

The main challenge to the at-grade crossing is that the state Public Utilities Commission regulates such crossings and winning approval “may be difficult,” the report noted. Maintenance of the crossing signals was also noted at a higher cost.

The City Council on Tuesday was expected to discuss the various options, but deferred doing so until Nov. 13 to give members the chance to review the report.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @citybeater

8 Responses to “Elevated rails for SMART crossing near Coddingtown ‘not viable’”

  1. Dave says:

    Ok… Thats enough! This kissing the derriere of the bicyclists has to stop, because it is now way over the top.

    Bikes are vehicles just like cars, but they fail to stay with the flow of traffic do not “share the road” with the big metal boxes that outweigh them by tons, run red lights, and now want special treatment at a train crossing? WTF?

    Enough! They can wait just like the rest of the vehicles do. Share the road goes both ways and so does the community responsibility not to burden us with the “want” whine vs a real need.

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  2. pete says:

    @Reality Check-Last I heard the trains will only be 3 cars long and run about once an hour, for only part of the day, why waste a dime to build a bridge or raise the tracks

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  3. Mike says:

    If anyone at the unsmart board or bureaucracy can think up the wrong technology, make it cheap and ugly, and cost too much, they will.

    They are following their plan with this grade crossing. Indecisive they will choose a solution, a crossing bridge or crossing gates, that will create more problems than it solves.

    This train to nowhere continues down the wrong track.

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  4. Reality Check says:

    How many trains will run each day? How long will they be? Is this going to be much of an inconvenience?

    The issue here is not an infrequent and minor inconvenience, but that some people will be unwilling to wait a minute or two for the train to pass and will do something stupid. This of course will be the train’s fault and will generate lawsuits and zillions of dollars in mitigation measures.

    Why interfere with Darwinian Evolution?

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  5. john says:

    I loathe Santa Rosa for this!
    The trains looked like crap! If they brought back the old trains, I would be for it, but,.like everything that once was[which was cool] gets replaced by uppity greed types

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  6. Kirstin says:

    The obviously most sensible solution is a ground crossing. There will be plenty of places along the SMART rail where foot, bike, and auto traffic will have to deal with train crossings at ground level at other locations. Why should bikers and pedestrians need something more elaborate and expensive here?

    But no, what is being recommended first? A bridge over the top. That’s nuts. I suppose it wouldn’t cost quite as much as that other bike/ped bridge they want to build, but still, where’s the common sense? SMART, the city council, and the city employees who dream up this stuff still haven’t grasped that we have to stop spending on things that aren’t of prime importance. They won’t fix the roads, but they are interested in considering a bridge crossing as first choice where a second-choice ground crossing would do just fine. It just doesn’t make sense.

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  7. Camino Alto says:

    SMART has yet to do anything remotely smart and this is no exception. It’s all completely understandable when you realize that DUMB’s underlying cause has little to do with the train itself.

    All they want to do is build thousands of unwanted and unneeded houses near the train stations. Why do you think the construction is hard behind them? Where do you think the jobs that they promise will come from?

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  8. James Bennett says:

    Since when does common sense, logistics or economics come into play?

    None of those considerations mattered before.

    Besides, the globalists have a “vision”.

    Nothing’s too “daunting” for Smart.

    The serfs, er taxpayers will pay.

    Smart Growth/Train is a liability to our way of life, freedoms, property rights and our wallet.

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