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Funding OK could extend SMART to airport

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A commuter rail station could be built near the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport if a regional transportation panel allocates the funding today.

Santa Rosa seeks input on railroad crossing swap

Jorge Robles walks his dog, Gordo, on Wednesday across railroad tracks that split Jennings Avenue near North Dutton Avenue in Santa Rosa. A proposed rail crossing at Jennings Avenue may require a corresponding crossing closure near Railroad Square. (Alvin Jornada / PD)

Santa Rosa is preparing to tackle one of the thorniest issues related to the arrival of commuter rail service to the city — where people should be allowed to cross the tracks.

Solution to Highway 101′s biggest bottleneck at least seven years away

Traffic on the Novato Narrows in 2002. (PD File)

On the day the new Graton Resort & Casino opened last week, northbound traffic on Highway 101 backed up from Rohnert Park all the way to Novato. It took drivers an hour to travel just 22 miles.

SMART rail district buys 56 acres of wetlands near tracks

A dock at the Mira Monte Marina in Novato that SMART will convert to wetlands is seen Friday. (Kent Porter / PD)

Passengers riding the new rail line between Sonoma and Marin counties may one day be able to spot a black-tailed deer or a night heron on wetlands owned by the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit system.

SMART train gets $11.4 million for extension to Larkspur

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Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit has received an $11.4 million boost to extend commuter train service to the Larkspur ferry.

SMART rail district hires in-house legal counsel

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The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit board Wednesday hired a full-time legal counsel, a move the agency said will save money on legal fees as it builds the train line between Santa Rosa and San Rafael.

Santa Rosa’s College Avenue will be widened under Highway 101

College Avenue will be widened under Highway 101 following an agreement struck between Santa Rosa and the state Department of Transportation.

Leader of Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition seeks peace and safety on two wheels

Gary Helfrich rounds the corner of Steele Lane and Mendocino Avenue as he commutes on his bicycle to work at the Santa Rosa Bike Coalition on Thursday, August 15, 2013. Helfrich works as the executive director of the coalition as he helps leads efforts to help make Sonoma County more bicycle friendly. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Gary Helfrich makes a point of listening to the complaints and the rants, the calls and emails of people upset by cyclists who don’t follow traffic laws or who clog narrow roads.

Helfrich, the head of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, knows that bicyclists can do better at following traffic rules, but said that doesn’t give a motorist the right to drive dangerously, or assault a cyclist.

Helfrich, 59, head of the bicycle coalition for the past two years, is on a mission to shift the culture and attitude toward cyclists.

County set to award $23 million contract for airport expansion

The tower at the Sonoma County airport. (PD File)

A Berkeley-based firm that led the Highway 101 widening work from Santa Rosa to Windsor is set to be awarded a $22.7 million contract to extend runways and make other upgrades at the Sonoma County airport.

O.C. Jones and Sons was the overall low bidder among six companies competing for the long-planned work at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. The Board of Supervisors is set to approve a contract with the firm Tuesday.

Sonoma County airport expansion nears start

Passengers walk across the ramp while deplaning from a Horizon Airlines flight from Portland at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport Thursday, June 6, 2013. (Christopher Chung / PD)

A long-awaited plan to lengthen the runways at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, potentially delivering more flights and an economic boost to the region, is close to winning approval and construction should start this summer, officials said.