The Train is Coming!
It was a rainy arrival for the first SMART train to enter the downtown San Rafael Station. In spite of the weather, a good crowd assembled to watch the train slowly cross Mission, 5th, 4th and into the station. Everyone gathered on the platform and gave a cheer as it rolled in. The train is comprised of two cars and they are taller than a BART train, and a lot noisier.
The interior of the cars are very nice. There are some sets of seats facing a table, some that fold down from the wall (allowing standing or sitting space) and the rest of seats have drop down tables like you’d find on an airplane, but with a lot more leg room! Seats are comfortable and no doubt it will be a nice ride.
The event was attended by Mayor Gary Phillips, U.S. Representative Jared Huffman, Vice Mayor Kate Colin, Council member Andrew McCullough, Supervisor Damon Connolly, SMART Board members, and more. Even our retired DPW Director, Nader Mansourian came out in the rain to enjoy the arrival.
We must acknowledge that on Friday our new Department of Public Works Director, Dean Allison, died unexpectedly. He has been working on integrating SMART into the City infrastructure and the current traffic issues. He was a collaborative guy, always willing to answer questions, talk about solutions. He will be missed.
Confusion About the Quiet Zone
The train made a slow ride to the station with SMART employees at each intersection to ensure everything worked properly and pedestrians and cars were safe. There have been many comments on NextDoor as it traveled along the corridor over the last few days. There was a lot of confusion about the Quiet Zone, and why there was noise at all. The Quiet Zone won’t be active until the train actually begins service at the end of the year. Horns will only sound entering and leaving a station, but the bells will ring at every crossing. A Quiet Zone is “sort of” quiet.
One person in Lincoln Hill who lives within a block of the track said the train wasn’t as loud as expected, but the crossing bells were very loud. A resident in the Las Gallinas corridor said the crossing bells weren’t bad there but the horns were very loud, and they are grateful for the future Quiet Zone. The train passes by their back fence and the top half of the train is actually visible in her back yard. The City has provided a fence height exemption for the entire neighborhood to allow a 10 foot fence.