SMART Train, aka SoCoMaCo Akamai rail

☆New Scenery Visual☆ Driving home yesterday afternoon from Terra Linda and the new SMART train zipped by the parallel tracks along 101 near the Novato narrows. ~ l@@king forward to the train service later this year.


SMART Train, aka SoCoMaCo Akamai rail is a voter-approved passenger rail and pathway project located in Marin & Sonoma counties. It will serve a 70-mile corridor from Larkspur to Cloverdale, with a first phase from San Rafael to Santa Rosa ~ transit service targeted for late 2016 launch date. The new train bridge in Petaluma is taking a lot of time and resources to finalize.


Petaluma Pete ~ Tourism ambassador video promo for the SMART train! Love the new views of the countryside.


SMART train – Coast Guard – Petaluma river Haystack bridge updates

Excellent news concerning this retrofit, replacement and local modernization project. The existing bridge l@@ks dangerous and neglected. Thumbs up!

~ Did You Know? The new Haystack Bridge that will be installed in Petaluma is a re-purposed bascule bridge, purchased from Galveston, TX. Part of a Coast Guard project to widen the channel opening there made a relatively new bridge that was suitable to the SMART project. This approach offers several benefits over the original plan to rehabilitate the existing Haystack Bridge: the maximum train speed over the bridge goes up from 10 to 40 mph; the useful life of the bridge goes from 20 years to 80 years; the river channel widens from 55 to 87 feet; and the superstructure of the bridge goes from a low fender protection system to more substantial “pile clusters” to protect from a barge impact. In addition, all of these improvements will be achieved with the re-purposed span for the same cost as the originally planned retrofit.

November 12, 2013

SMART rail district buys 56 acres of wetlands near tracks


SMART rail district buys 56 acres of wetlands near tracks
By Matt Brown
The Press Democrat
October 11, 2013, 5:23 PM

SMART announced the purchase of 56 acres of wetlands along the Petaluma River that will be preserved as part of its environmental mitigation program. The Mira Monte Marina is south of Redwood Landfill, where San Antonio Creek meets the Petaluma River. Environmentalists welcomed the purchase, this acquisition will add to the 2,000-acre protected Petaluma Marsh system that supports an array of bird, plant and animal species, including the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse and California clapper rail.

SMART: federal funding program for Larkspur extension

Excellent development for the Larkspur extension!

SMART, train, federal, Larkspur extension

SMART announces acceptance into the federal Small Starts funding program for the Larkspur extension

Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) September 24, 2013

For Immediate Release
Contact:Farhad Mansourian,(707)794-3057
SMART San Rafael to Larkspur Segment Accepted into Federal “New Starts” Program

Petaluma,CA– Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) announced today that the Federal
Transit Administration (FTA) has accepted SMART’s San Rafael to Larkspur segment into
the Project Development phase of its “Small Starts” funding program. This designation
grants SMART funding to complete the federal environmental review process as well as final engineering and design for this critical segment.

Download full release

Sonoma-Marin SMART news updates

Sonoma-Marin SMART article updates

SMART rail work to begin in Marin over the next year
By Mark Prado ~ Marin Independent Journal June 1, 2013

Transit-oriented plan for Petaluma delayed over SMART comments
By Loria Carter ~ The Press Democrat May 7, 2013

SMART Novato, Board meeting Sonoma Raceway – Amtrak connection

Interesting rail line developments were revealed at the Feb 20 , 2013 SMART Staff and public board meeting. Board Member Announcement section, general managers report; video presentation (4 minutes)

An unexpected proposal was introduced to connect SMART in Novato, at the Sonoma’ Infinity’ Raceway venue location. The raceway owners are promoting an event in June and will be bringing Amtrak service from downtown Sacramento to the doorstep of the raceway, leveraging existing railroad lines and infrastructure through Yolo -> Solano -> Napa -> Sonoma counties. The’ve expressed interest to connect this new rail hub into the Sonoma / Novato SMART rail service for future 2014-2015 events. This proposal has the potential of connecting Sonoma/ Marin counties to the Sacramento-SF bay area recreational and commuter Amtrak lines providing greater long term outreach and usage on public rail transit for commuters and businesses. Short term benefit, offering a much needed solution to the horrific vehicle gridlock and public safety issues on Hwy 37 during large events.

General Manager’s report from the February 2013 board meeting.

Click to access 2-20%20GM%20Report%20to%20Board.pdf

SMART Cotati station ~ future Transit Center

Cotati SMART Train Depot

Cotati SMART Train Depot

The new SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit) Cotati train station and future Transit Center will be located at East Cotati Avenue and Santero Way, a few blocks east of the Rancho Cotati Shopping Center, near Oliver’s Market. Cotati’s ground breaking ceremony started last Fall on October 22, 2012 and the designated property is located along the existing train tracks. The development site has an abandoned school district warehouse dwelling with 2013 -2014 plans for demolition, making way for new depot construction, parking and retail spaces.

This new strategic SMART hub is centrally located to serve the future transportation demands of nearby Sonoma State University and their growing student population, expanding local businesses, and is also situated on the main artery connecting the central downtown community. 1 of the 2 Cotati freeway exits, West Sierra Avenue along the 101 corridor between Rohnert Park and Petaluma also connects into East Cotati Avenue enhancing vehicle accessibility to the SMART train station. Cotati has a long history of train activity, and the original railroad depot was also located on East Cotati Avenue.

The city of Cotati promotes and maintains a comfortable small town atmosphere in Sonoma County and hosts the annual Cotati Accordion Festival every August. Interesting trivia, Cotati’s hexagonal downtown plaza is one of only two hexagonal town layouts in the United States, and is a registered California Historical Landmark # 879.  The city’s unusual name is derived from the Kota’ti tribe-let of Coast Miwok Indians who populated the Sonoma County valley for generations and Vito Paulekas’s Chief Kotati statue in located in La Plaza Park waiting to greet new visitors and welcome residents home every day!

Groundbreaking This Afternoon for Train Deport and Pedestrian Plaza in Cotati The $1.6 million train depot is expected to take 170 construction days to complete.
By Bay City News Editor Karina Ioffee October 23, 2012

Cotati to break ground for train depot

Cotati gets the jump ahead of RP for SMART rail station
The Community Voice By Jud Snyder  August 12, 2010

Cotati Accordion Festival
La Plaza Park August 17-18 2013

Cotati, California,_California

Cotati Historical Society
*Original railroad depot photo located on East Cotati Avenue.
*Vito Paulekas’s Chief Kotati statue in La Plaza Park

SMART North Santa Rosa station

SMART North Santa Rosa

SMART North Santa Rosa

The North Santa Rosa SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit) station has generated a lot of fiscal concern and political controversy for several years. The original Jennings Park site proposal allocated 9.8 acres for this project and is located at the former Northern Pacific Railroad right-of-way in Santa Rosa. This potential depot site is extremely desirable because it would provide more parking spaces for regular commuters, is situated in a growing residential area and will be accessible to the Santa Rosa Junior College if future development plans materialize to add a bicycle pedestrian bridge over highway 101 nearby.  Unplanned additional construction costs and dwindling resources are weighing at the core of this placement issue and stalling both SMART and City Council representatives to ultimately commit to a final location. The second depot site south of Jennings at the Guerneville Road crossing could also be selected as the future option. The buildings and property adjacent to the crossing could be acquired and developed and the existing road crossing improvements were  previously completed which makes this option financially more attractive than the proposals for the Jennings crossing area. The downside of course at Guerneville Road is the limited parking. The ongoing  revitalization of Coddingtown mall area at Guerneville Road/Steele Lane includes 60 + new stores showcasing a new Whole Foods superstore. The ongoing impressive large scale renovation construction of the malls south wing has also given this outdated-aging shopping mall a fresh start and a promising commercial economic future.

Phase 1 rail line planning discussed and shared on the SMART homepage indicates that the new rail service will begin in Santa Rosa, most likely from this Northern location. The undecided rail stop would sequentially be #4 out of the total 14 planned beginning at Cloverdale -> Healdsburg -> Windsor -> then North Santa Rosa. I’m anxiously waiting to hear the outcome of this temporary snag and this location is key since it will support the interim turn around tracks for the North end of the rail line. I also noticed this week that one of the Guernevile Road rails at the construction area was marked SMART#4. If that is a subtle hint or clue of progress and new developments, maybe the decision has been made, unofficially!  ;o)

Santa Rosa – Jennings depot

Coddingtown mall

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) Phase 1 chart

Related articles:  Jennings / Guerneville Rd. crossing costs & issues

Tough to make a SMART decision at Jennings Avenue crossing
By KEVIN McCALLUM – THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Santa Rosa OKs $200,000 study of rail underpass
By KEVIN McCALLUM- THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Published: Tuesday, August 14,2012

Santa Rosa to consider Jennings Avenue undercrossing
By KEVIN McCALLUM – THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Published: Monday, August 13, 2012

SMART committee selects Guerneville Road site for train station
By BOB NORBERG – THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Published: Wednesday, June 2, 2010

SMART station planning
White paper  No 12 May 2008