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How Will You Use SMART?

The train's coming, and there's signs all over the North Bay exclaiming that. Do you think you'll ride?

SMART is coming. In Rohnert Park, city leaders say the train will help revitalize the core of town near the library and public safety building, and elected officials say it'll go far in helping to create a downtown, an identity, that some say the city lacks. 

Planners for the rail line say in the first year alone, the project will bring 1,000 jobs to the North Bay, and bring much-needed growth to local economies — with the construction of train stations in underused sections of Marin and Sonoma County cities. Cities say it'll help spur "smart growth" near stations, attracting new housing developments and businesses, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels and solo commuting.

"We are creating an economic engine for the North Bay," SMART planners say. "We’re working hard to put SMART on the tracks, build a parallel SMART bike path, and along the way, prime the pump of our economy by bringing jobs to the North Bay."

We wanted to ask you, readers. Do you think you'll use SMART? For what? To get to work? For travel? For recreation? If you've got an opinion, chances are, others do too. So get the conversation started by telling us what you think in the comments!

LP March 03, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I will definitly use Smart to get to work. I work in Novato and it will be a nice alternative. We would also use it to get down to the ferry so we can go to the city and avoid parking.
J.P. Geis March 04, 2012 at 02:28 PM
It's long overdue. Now retired, I would have used it to go to my office in San Rafael.
Sandy Murphey March 04, 2012 at 02:29 PM
It will depend on the cost, and circumstances of my trips. Many of my trips to San Rafael are to deliver food and clothing to someone, so I need to drive my car to transport these things. But if I was just visiting someone close by, or got a job near a train stop, then I'd definitely use it. But I'll definitely use it when practical!
Tricia Painter McKay March 04, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Commuting from RP to Corte Madera 5 days a week the Smart Train would be fabulous if the cost is better than filling up twice a week however, I take my two dogs to work with me since I'm gone for so long each day. I doubt they will be welcome on the train which makes it useless for me. :(
robert aherne March 04, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Possibly, I could ride SMART once a year - to the Marin Farmer's Market at the Marin Civic Center. That's about it. Robert Aherne
Mark Kalagorgevich March 05, 2012 at 12:31 AM
My wife said she will use it to go to Novato to work most week days. She currently has flex hours and uses it to avoid the terrible commute hours on 101 south in the morning and north in the evening. This will give her a real alternative, as long as service begins on schedule and there are buses or shuttles to work. This will make the dreaded 8 a.m. meeting tolerable.
Cade Olds March 06, 2012 at 02:13 AM
a quick trip to LA for fun in the sun or maybe look for oppertunitys to make my life better in a new area I will deffinately be using SMART
Scott Macunga March 09, 2012 at 04:28 PM
SMART, as it is now planned, will only be going to San Rafael. SMART shortchanged us on service farther south. Won't go to the Larkspur Ferry, won't go to Corte Madera (never was planned to), and won't go to LA (what was THAT person thinking, if that was supposed to mean LOS ANGELES?) I'd probably use it for a nice ride on a sunny day...
Linda April 25, 2012 at 02:12 PM
We will use SMART for recreation - being able to travel without using the freeway will be a real treat and will definitely get us traveling more!
Doug Strickland April 25, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Just get a dr to say that they are emotional support service dogs, and they can go anywhere, trains, stores, and even restaurants.
Doug Strickland April 25, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I have clients in SF and Berkeley, so my only hope is that enough San Rafael commuters take the train so that lightens the freeway load. 100 miles a day for 10 years, and with all of the talk about cutting commute time, nothing has changed. Oh wait, they cut down on Golden Gate Transit routes and raised the rate, so I guess that's change.
Dean April 25, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I'm going to try to use it going into the city. It stopping @ SR is a bummer but using a bike to get to the ferry might not be too bad.... We will see.
Dean McKillop April 25, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I think its a GREAT IDEA! Will relieve the conjested Highway 101 Traffic. I DEFINATELY will ride!
Cassandra Lista April 25, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I agree with J.P. Geis. I, too, am retired but I will use it to travel wherever it will take me, if it means =I= won't have to drive!
Angela Hart April 25, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Thanks for your great comments, readers! How much, on average, would you say you spend in your car commuting to and from work? I'm thinking about doing a story on this so just testing the waters...lemme know! Personally, I spend probably about 10-12 hours a week in my car, but that's traveling all over the Bay Area.
G Man April 26, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I'll. Probably ride it once just for shiggles. The fact that it only goes to San Rafael is a big issue.
Pat Comstock April 27, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Will us it frequently when the bike path is completed. Like our regional buses, it'll reportedly accommodate bicycles, so I'll take my bike on it whichever way suits a fancy and pedal back to RP. It should provide a great alternative and much better scenery than spinning in place at the gym.
E Renee Mitchell April 28, 2012 at 06:48 AM
I will NOT use the Dumb Train! I think it is a really cheap design, way too costly of a plan, not following the original voted agreement, expensive fare and the construction will cost us tax payers for years and years! No public Transit has ever made money, there is a reason the train stopped running decades ago. This is a black hole of a project, promising local jobs, which is not true, and only putting MTC Fed SB money into the pockets of those who have an already vested interest. ***Not to mention the track runs right over a geyser line, a earthquake fault line and wetland areas....BAD TRAIN, NOT SMART!!! They should stick to making bike routes and carpool hubs and electric buses! Mitigate OUT of the Marshland and abide the California Endangered Species Act. I am disappointed by the deceit of this Train development... oh yah but this is part of the RP Casino Development plan too right.? Now that we're allowing them to plow over more Farm Land for commercial buildings, established a new Hooters "Sport's Bar" all we need next is a few more massage parlors, more arrogant cops and let's just close down a few more schools to make RP a real winning community!! ugh. Stop with the over development already! and stand up for the Agricultural aspect that originally was Rohnert Park (doesn't anyone remember the crimini mushroom farms..? in 1970's). Food is more important than slot cash and hoodlum trains people!!
Guy Thompson April 28, 2012 at 06:59 PM
I'm only going to use it as something to complain about. It's a boondoggle. It's just something politicians can brag about and a few construction companies make millions building. It doesn't seem to have any practical use considering the time it will take to get to San Rafael (hours) and then another hour or so to catch a ferry to SF and then what? We take another bus somewhere or a cab? I seriously doubt the fare will be affordable and even if it is, the taxpayers will be subsidizing the cost until it just gives up or runs out of money. Then it will all be abandoned and all the money wasted - it's like 500 million or something? And it will probably end up costing double what they estimate now. A billion bucks for something that can't be used practically. Heck of a waste of money. Aren't we like going bankrupt in California? And we're spending money on this and 100 billion dollar bullet train between Fresno and Bakersfield? You just can't make this stuff up. You're all crazy if you support this. It can't possibly be what you believe it is.
Tom June 02, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Unless the train runs from my house to the store....I have on need for it! Besides, we all know it will cost more than the so called experts and planners expected and it will end up being just another money pit needing more taxpayers dollars to keep it going once it starts. Funny how some people have no problem spending other peoples money! What will they do when they've used it all up? Welcome to Ameritopia folks.
Patricia Jeffares June 02, 2012 at 01:57 PM
With the population exploding, we can no longer be a car centric world. Trains and bikes are the future.
Doug Strickland June 02, 2012 at 02:04 PM
I remember hearing that, when I was in junior high school. In 1973. Bay Area population has gone from 4 million to 7 million people. No trains. No ferries. No jetpacks or personal hovercraft either. Just 3 million more people fitting into the same two lanes of highway. And they call us an advanced civilization... Hehe.
Cotati Station Neighbor June 26, 2012 at 06:13 AM
They say there will be a bus bridge connections to the ferry when it only goes so far as San Rafael. I'll use it to get to SF instead of driving to the ferry terminal! I only live 1/2 mile from the tracks in Cotati!!! Bring it on. In the summer, I'll also use it to get to the Healdsburg Tuesday night concerts....again a bus bridge will take us quickly to Healdsburg.
darryl July 13, 2012 at 01:38 AM
T - exactly my point as well. We all have some circumstance that makes it inconvenient to find transportion after we arrive at the station. Who the hell wants to wait for a public bus after riding the train. Oh btw, I make the same commute as you (only in reverse) so was wondering why you fill up 2x week? Yikes, a tank of gas lasts me a full 5 days driving a full size car.
Vince Doherty July 13, 2012 at 02:13 AM
I'm looking forward to traveling within Sonoma county on SMART. Heading to Petaluma or Santa Rosa with my bike for the day to take care of errands or whatnot.... On a side note, I love seeing all the construction taking place all along the tracks recently! And try not to focus on the negativity. Sure it has some kinks to work out but a lot of the same complaints made regarding SMART were also made when the Golden Gate Bridge was being constructed in the 1930's as well as when the government decided to develop the Interstate Highway system in the 1950's and 1960's. Change is the only constant in this life of ours and their will always be those attached to the old ways.
litebrite March 27, 2013 at 07:37 PM
What cities will the train stop in? Is there a stop in every city on the way?

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