SMART receives $21 million in state funding for its extension to Windsor

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) District received $21 million in state transportation funds to construct the extension to Windsor. This grant, coupled with the proposed $40 million in funding from Regional Measure 3 (RM3), will allow SMART to complete the first of three northern Sonoma County extensions.

State Sen. Mike McGuire said, “The State couldn’t be more excited to make this latest investment in SMART, and to soon connect the residents of Windsor and northern Sonoma County with this fantastic service. We have been grateful to work with Chairwoman Fudge and the SMART Board on the proposal, and we are so appreciative to the Department of Transportation for their ongoing partnership.”

“This is a big day for SMART and for the Town of Windsor,” said SMART Board Chairwoman Debora Fudge. “We want to thank the California Secretary of Transportation and his staff, and our state legislators for funding this important connection for our north county residents. It is now essential that we all vote to approve Regional Measure 3 in the June election, which will fully fund the extension from the Sonoma County Airport Station to the heart of Windsor.”

RM3, which goes before voters on June 5, would increase tolls on seven state-owned bridges over a period of several years. It would generate an estimated $4.5 billion in funding over a 25year period for public transportation, highway improvements, and bicycle and pedestrian pathways. Funding for SMART’s Windsor extension is part of that funding plan.

The funding will allow SMART to move forward with the next phase of construction on the Windsor extension.
“This is an important step that moves us closer to completing our 70-mile vision, which includes expanding our SMART train service to Windsor, Healdsburg and Cloverdale,” said SMART Board Director Carol Russell. “This is a major milestone for all of our North Bay residents who have been waiting for a transportation option to northern Sonoma County.”

Since launching its passenger service in August, SMART has carried more than 465,000 passengers. SMART’s passenger train service currently serves a 43-mile corridor with stations in Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Petaluma, Novato and San Rafael. Construction on the Larkspur extension is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

Sweden Makes Bold Push for Green Vehicles by Electrifying Country’s Highways

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Author Green Supply Chain News

While many countries are setting timetables for moving away from new cars using gasoline or diesel, and there is much interest in electric trucks on the part of shippers looking for green shipping alternatives, a stubborn problem remains: the batteries in today’s e-vehicles have a very limited range, and charging stations are far from ubiquitous and take a long time to repower a car or truck.

One hope is that battery and charging technology will advance soon enough to allow greater miles per charge and to enable much more rapid charging. But while engineers are hard at work on those issues, how and when they will be solved in a way that meets market needs is speculative at best.

The Green-leaning country of Sweden has what it thinks is a better approach.

As reported recently in the UK’s Daily Mail, Sweden has built the first stretch of electrified road that allows cars to charge themselves as they drive along it in what the government says will eventually be the electrification of all of the country’s highways.

The first stretch road that has been electrified runs for about two kilometers between Stockholm Airport and a logistics park. That’s just a drop in the bucket from the 20,000 kilometers of Sweden’s main highways, but the country says it is committed to electrifying all of it.

With the system, electric energy is transferred from two rail tracks that are embedded in the road connected to the car through an arm attached to the bottom of the vehicle, similar to an electric tram or train.

The arm automatically disconnects when the car changes lanes and then reconnects to a different electrified line.

The energy consumption of each car is monitored and used to bill drivers for how much energy they use. Because the system is charging a vehicle’s batteries as it drives, those batteries can be smaller and cheaper because they should not have to travel far without charging.

In this area, Sweden has some geographic advantages, as while there are some 500,000 kilometers of total roadway in the country, cars rarely have to travel more than 45 kilometers to reach a major highway, such that only those roads need to be electrified.

The Daily Mail quotes Hans Sall, CEO of a company called eRoadArlanda which built the road, said existing vehicles and highways could be modified to use the system.

And the technology is safe, Sall says.

“There is no electricity on the surface. There are two tracks, just like an outlet in the wall. Five or six centimeters down is where the electricity is,” he said. “But if you flood the road with salt water then we have found that the electricity level at the surface is just one volt. You could walk on it barefoot.”

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Marin County Cyclists

For years Marin County bicyclists have dreamed of a multi-use pathway connecting from Baltimore Park (on the Heritage Trail) in Larkspur to the Larkspur Ferry Building. A pathway has already been constructed from Baltimore Park to Wornum Dr. on the old NPCRR right-of-way where it ends short of its goal. The gap between Wornum and Corte Madera Creek is owned by Sonoma Marin Rail Transit (SMART) which may wish to use it in the future. The Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) and SMART have finally executed an agreement to construct the missing link of the trail on SMART property under the condition that SMART may remove the trail if in the future it needs the property. This is unlikely because SMART has no plans to extend south and west. So this is a victory for the bicycle community, will make bicycle commuting and touring easier and make both SMART and the Larkspur Ferry more accessible to bicyclists. This will enhance SMART ridership at the new SMART station presently under construction at Larkspur Landing.

On May 20 of 2016 Larkspur opened a pedestrian/bicycel bridge from the SMART Larkspur Landing station across Sir Francis Drake Blvd. This connoted the bike path to the Larkspur Ferry.

It did not, however, extend across Corte Madera Creek where a historic rail drawbridge now stands.  Hopefully the old bridge will remain as a historical monument with a new bridge nearby.

Marin County bicyclists have dreamed of a multi-use pathway

For years Marin County bicyclists have dreamed of a multi-use pathway connecting from Baltimore Park (on the Heritage Trail) in Larkspur to the Larkspur Ferry Building. A pathway has already been constructed from Baltimore Park to Wornum Dr. on the old NPCRR right-of-way where it ends short of its goal. The gap between Wornum and Corte Madera Creek is owned by Sonoma Marin Rail Transit (SMART) which may wish to use it in the future. The Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) and SMART have finally executed an agreement to construct the missing link of the trail on SMART property under the condition that SMART may remove the trail if in the future it needs the property. This is unlikely because SMART has no plans to extend south and west. So this is a victory for the bicycle community, will make bicycle commuting and touring easier and make both SMART and the Larkspur Ferry more accessible to bicyclists. This will enhance SMART ridership at the new SMART station presently under construction at Larkspur Landing.

On May 20 of 2016 Larkspur opened a pedestrian/bicycel bridge from the SMART Larkspur Landing station across Sir Francis Drake Blvd. This  connoted the bike path to the Larkspur Ferry.

It did not, however, extend across Corte Madera Creek where a historic rail drawbridge now stands.  Hopefully the old bridge will remain as a historical monument with a new bridge nearby.

This new TAM bike path will extend across Corte Matera Creek, down SMART right-of-way connecting to the Larkspur-Corte Madera Path.   The construction is being funded with Regional Measure 2 money allocated by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

 

Update on County Bridge Programs

The County has received approximately $15 million in federal funding, Highway Bridge Program Funds, to replace five bridges and rehabilitate another in various parts of Marin County. The funding is administered through the Caltrans Local Assistance Program.

These federal grant funds will be used to conduct environmental studies, perform public outreach, secure permits, perform right-of-way services, develop engineering plans, and to construct each of these bridges.

For more information please visit the project websites:

  • Mountain View Road Bridge is located in Lagunitas over San Geronimo Creek at the intersection of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Visit the project web page for more information.
  • Nicasio Valley Road Bridge is located over Arroyo Nicasio Creek near the intersection with Lucas Valley Road. Visit the project web page for more information.
  • Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Bridge is located in Point Reyes Station over Olema Creek just west of State Highway 1. Visit the project web page for more information.
  • Muir Woods Road Bridge is located over Redwood Creek near the main entrance to Muir Woods National Monument. Visit the project web page for more information.
  • San Antonio Bridge is located in northernmost Novato over San Antonio Creek at the Marin-Sonoma County line. Visit the project web page for more information.
  • Mt. Lassen Drive Bridge is located in Marinwood over Miller Creek near the intersection with Lucas Valley Road. Visit the project web page for more information.

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