What is SMART?
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) is a passenger train and multi-use pathway project located in San Francisco’s
SMART provides an alternative to Highway 101 traffic by upgrading the existing rail line and building a new bicycle/pedestrian pathway linking the 14 rail stations. SMART’s environmental studies project 5,000 to 6,000 passenger trips per day will be made on the train and 7,000 to 10,000 daily trips will be made on the bicycle/pedestrian pathway.
The rail project will take more than 1.4 million car trips off Highway 101 annually and reduce greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, by at least 124,000 pounds per day. Capital construction costs for the rail project are estimated to be $596 million. The full bicycle/pedestrian pathway is estimated at $99 million.
The SMART rail corridor parallels Highway 101, the only north-south transportation facility in the North Bay. Traffic congestion along this corridor has increased dramatically in the last decade and it is now ranked by Caltrans as one of the most congested freeways in the Bay Area. Over 80% of all
The 14 stations along the corridor are being designed to accommodate available feeder bus services, shuttle services and, in selected suburban locations, park and ride facilities. Stations in the core areas of the three largest cities in the North Bay – Santa Rosa, Petaluma and San Rafael – are being designed with no park and ride facilities, helping create more walkable downtowns and allowing bus and feeder services to further enhance congestion mitigation efforts.
Commuter-oriented passenger train service will be provided by an estimated 14 round-trip trains per day, operating at 30-minute intervals in the morning and evening peak commuting hours during the week. Bicycles will be allowed on board the trains; weekend service also is planned.
SMART will use Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) vehicles manufactured in Rochelle, Illinois, by Sumitomo Corp. of America/Nippon Sharyo. The DMU is quieter and cleaner than conventional locomotive-hauled equipment. These self-contained rail cars include on-board engines and are capable of using alternative fuels such as waste-derived bio-diesel. Two-car train sets carry about 158 passengers, provide on-board storage for more than 24 bikes and fit within a downtown city block to avoid blocking intersections.
Due primarily to the economic recession, SMART’s revenues are not sufficient to build the entire project as expected by 2014. The SMART Board of Directors – 12 elected officials representing jurisdictions along the corridor – voted in November 2010 to develop the project in phases. The first phase, a 38.5-mile rail and trail project connecting the county seats and population centers of San Rafael and Santa Rosa, is on schedule for completion by late 2015 or early 2016. Extensions north and south will be developed as additional funding is identified.
Key activities related to the project’s implementation include the following milestones:
- Certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report – 2006
- Supplemental EIR – 2008
- SMART Sales Tax Measure approved with near 70% majority – Nov. 2008
- 20% level of design completed – July 2010
- Railcar manufacturing contract – January 2011
- Construction contracts released – Summer/Fall 2011
- Passenger rail service begins – 2015-2016