For the first time in more than 50 years, travelers can jump on the train in the North Bay. The long-awaited Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) is now running full speed ahead with daily and weekend service from downtown San Rafael to the Sonoma County Airport. And….you can use your Clipper Card!
Greenbelt Alliance worked to pass the measure that created SMART nearly 10 years ago. We were proud to join local elected officials and supporters to celebrate the launch of the new passenger train in historic Railroad Square in Santa Rosa on August 22, 2017.
“All aboard the SMART train,” bellowed Senator Mike McGuire from the station platform to hundreds of train fans eager to ride the rails. The former Sonoma County supervisor was one of many elected officials at the launch who helped get the train rolling down the tracks after funding and other challenges delayed commencement of service. Read the Press Democrat’s article about the grand opening here.
“It’s the beginning of a new era of transportation for the whole North Bay—a generational change for travel between two counties,” said SMART Chair Debora Fudge, Mayor of Windsor and a friend of Greenbelt Alliance who has served on the SMART board for a dozen years.
Greenbelt Alliance Board Member Jake Mackenzie, a SMART director and Mayor of Rohnert Park, wore a traditional Scottish kilt to the launch event in memory of his family members who spent their lives working for railroads in Scotland.
“The lessons are clear,” he said in a rousing speech that traced the SMART line’s origins and journey to date. “Our traffic problems cannot be eased by building more roads. There is going to be transit-oriented development all up and down this corridor.”
Watch his speech below.
As an example of well-planned transit oriented development, Greenbelt Alliance recently endorsed a mixed-used development with 185 new apartment homes on the SMART line near Railroad Square.
“The launch of SMART means it is time to finally start building the thriving neighborhoods envisioned in the station area plans along the train line,” said Teri Shore, Regional Director for the North Bay.
SMART’s initial 43 miles of rail corridor includes 10 stations, from the Sonoma County Airport to Downtown San Rafael. Future extensions include: Larkspur, which is scheduled to be completed in 2019; Windsor; Healdsburg; and Cloverdale. The full project will provide 70 miles of passenger rail service, connecting SMART passengers with jobs, education centers, retail hubs and housing along the Sonoma-Marin corridor, and a bicycle-pedestrian pathway. Learn more about SMART here.