Dick Spotswood: SMART train management pushing to live up to its promises

This Saturday, the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District inaugurates service into its new Larkspur Station adjacent to the ferry terminal. A 1 p.m. celebration marks completion of the long-awaited two-mile extension from San Rafael’s Bettini Transit Terminal. With one exception, Saturday marks fulfillment of SMART’s promise to Marin voters.

SMART touted a rail line connecting Marin and Sonoma to expedite commuters headed from affordable Sonoma and Northern Marin homes to plentiful Marin jobs Its secondary goal was to provide North Bay residents with a civilized alternative to the mind-numbing auto commute to San Francisco. It does it by linking the train with Golden Gate ferries transporting commuters to the 21st century bonanza that’s the new downtown San Francisco. It would all be paralleled by a bi-county bikeway.

The transit agency’s Marin achievement hasn’t been as thoroughly replicated in Sonoma. In 2008, voters were told the commuter railway/bikeway would stretch 70 miles from Larkspur to Healdsburg and Cloverdale in northern Sonoma County. The line now ends at the Santa Rosa Airport and will soon be extended to bustling Windsor. An extension north of Windsor is in doubt.

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View Original Publication: Marin Independent Journal