SMART in Santa Rosa ~ Old Railroad Square

SMART - Old Railroad Square, Santa Rosa

SMART – Old Railroad Square, Santa Rosa

I was in Santa Rosa this afternoon and stopped by Fourth Street & Old Railroad Square to investigate the SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit) progress downtown. I was pleasantly surprised to see noticeable activity and movement on rail construction. Heavy machinery, safety fences and plans for a new platform for travelers are in the works. The existing historic depot building also serves as a California Welcome Center and provides an abundance of tourist resources, guidebooks, maps, a gift shop and even a small railroad museum! (very small). The staff inside indicated that the second Santa Rosa SMART stop will be in Coddingtown. Is it a coincidence that the two Santa Rosa rail stations are being located near the two largest shopping malls? Hmmm.

I usually post photos on Facebook of the various Charles Schultz character statues scattered around Sonoma County as I spot them. The placement of the statues began 8 years ago. Starting in 2005- Charlie Brown, 2006-Woodstock, 2007-Snoopy and finally in 2008-Lucy. Hard to keep track of all of them, and I’ve seen about 40 over the years. The bronze statues of Charlie Brown and Snoopy are proudly displayed in the front garden area at Old Railroad Square. The Charles Schultz museum, ice arena and gift shop are located off of West Steel Lane near Coddingtown Mall. If you haven’t already visited the Schultz art museum and comic collection, it’s a great way to spend the afternoon with family, friends or by yourself.

SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit)

Railroad Square Santa Rosa, CA

California Welcome Center in Santa Rosa. CA

Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa CA

SMART is coming to town!

SMART Petaluma

SMART is coming to town! ~ Petaluma

I’ve noticed a lot of local surface street and freeway construction activity in Petaluma recently. It looks like the SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit) groundwork is underway. This new train service will provide 70 miles of the historic Northwestern Pacific Railroad alignment, connecting two counties serving 14 stations from Cloverdale down the North bay corridor to the San Francisco-bound ferry terminal in Larkspur. SMART will also include a parallel 70-mile bicycle-pedestrian trail, which is great planning and forward environmental thinking! I scanned a few postings online and discovered that BART rail costs more than $100 million a mile. Light rail wouldn’t be as efficient, and would also cost more. SMART costs about $7.7 million per mile, which is the least expensive of several options suggested for the NWP corridor. Funding budget was $541 million, with an annual operating costs of $19 million. Existing state and federal funding, fares and a dedicated ¼-cent sales tax (2011 $191 million Measure Q Sales Tax Revenue Bond issuance) will help pay for this project. Timeline, by 2015 – 2016 Phase I completion between North Santa Rosa and San Rafael will be in service. Excellent ~ Follow their progress. @smarttrain

SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit)