Monday, February 08, 2016

Downtown Novato station for SMART?

Tim Porter

Interesting comments to the Independent Journal's editorial supporting a downtown Novato station for the SMART train system:

A comment by Ventress Dugan:

Novato was not given any time to make this decision by SMART. We have had to make this decision in a month. So..of course we have NO studies done on ridership. Novato has to pay 100% of the cost to build. Three of the city council members are climbing all over each other to have this. It's funny how the citizens have been backed into a corner to push this through. The Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Assoc. are encouraging the merchants and promising them new people, commuters and tourists will be shopping, eating and enjoying entertainment (in the theater that has been in the works for how many years?).

What the city is not saying is what the SMART engineer said at his presentation at the city council meeting. The engineer stated the Downtown stop would NOT be a commuter stop and in all likelihood only stop on the weekend. And maybe, in the future, weekdays in the day. BUT, if this station does not perform, SMART would close the station. These decisions would be made by SMART alone, with no input from Novato. So Novato will pay $5.5 million dollars ($2.5 if we only build half of it) for a station that NO ONE knows will be an operating station or for how long.

The city staff put a survey online for citizens to fill out. The survey stated there was a "Public Workshop." Which it never had. Also left out were ALL of the details SMART stated. No mention of it not being a commuter stop, no mention of SMART closing the station if it underperformed. In other words, a rigged survey. 

This is shameful, and business as usual for City Staff and City Council Members.

Comments by critic Richard Hall of Planning for Reality are always of interest:

CARB states that under operational conditions diesel trains like SMART emit 19,600g CO2 per mile. SMART's cap and trade grant application shows the average car in Marin and Sonoma in 2017 will emit just 330g CO2 per mile...

Later: An update on the Novato station project.

Of course SPUR supports the SMART system. It also supports California's high-speed rail project.

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