Capdiamont\’s Weblog

SMART 2008, a pro SMART website
Sunday 22 Jun 2008, 10:57
Filed under: Marin, Railroad, SMART, Sonoma

doing a search today for SMART stuff, came across a nicely done SMART 2008 website.

Beats the FUD the Bull/Mike Arnold puts out.

1) SMART has dropped biodiesel as an alternative.

2) The article failed to mention freight, freight noise at night, and gravel mining on the Eel River, subsidized by SMART because it subsidizes freight operations. (This will matter by the fall.)

3) SMART shuttles are a joke. There are only 9 shuttle buses to be funded. They will pick people up at train stations, but not take them there. (Documented by Larkspur City Council and SMART Working Group.)

4) Imagine what $500 million would do for Golden Gate Transit services. Lower fares and more service, with hybrid buses would take far more cars off the road, reduce global warming emmissions at far lower cost than the train could ever hope to achieve.

5) SMART’s 6,000 ridership figure is made up. It did not account for HIGHER FARES it would need to charge to pay for its own diesel based fuel (which currently costs more than gasoline.)

6) According to SMART’s recently released financial plan, rail will not be running until the fall of 2014. (They can’t afford to start it sooner and must save our tax dollars to fund the boondoggle.)

7) There are no major employers in Marin or Sonoma counties to compare with shuttles serving Caltrain. Just look at the numbers. That’s why ridership is so low. (Only 240 Sonoma residents forecast to take 7 trains in the morning to Marin. Only 55 people expected to take SMART to the ferry.)

Folks, the SMART Board is misrepresenting what the train can achieve and how much it will actually cost in order to con you into voting for the tax measure. It’s that simple.

Posted by Tired of the Bull, a resident of another community, on Jun 20, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Replies, including mine.

Tired of bull offers only critique by taking things out of context, and providing misinformation, and offers no real solutions. Typical of the highway lobby. Here is the truth:

1. SMART is still open to biodiesel, but more likely will use new emerging hybrid-electric engine technology. The climate protection campaign recently endorsed SMART and encouraged them to take advantage of this technology which is already in use and fits well with SMART’s railcar design.

2. SMART shuttle plan is extensive, to places like Santa Rosa JC (where 10,000 Marin students commute daily) to Santa Rosa Airport where we can take a direct flight to LA, to Northgate Mall, to ferry, to Civic center etc. see here Web Link for more. But once SMART is up and running, other places like Copia in wine country, Infineon raceway etc. will offer their own shuttles for customers and employees. In the South bay, this is exactly how it works and most ridership for Caltrain comes from shuttles.

3. Freight is in no way dependent on SMART to operate north of highway 37. Any efficiencies that come from operating passenger rail too is a good thing!

4. Status quo- buses and cars on our already crowded highways, isn’t working. Spending more money on buses alone won’t work either. You’ll never convince as many people to give up their cars to ride buses that get stuck in traffic as rail that zips along comfortably and reliably quick. That means, while SMART cuts Marin and Sonoma’s emissions, a similar investment in buses alone actually increases them! And SMART will encourge more bus usage…See here:

SMART is projected to produce a net increase in total bus ridership on both Marin and Sonoma County routes, mainly by boosting local connecting service to stations more than it reduces ridership on inter-county routes. Compared with the Express Bus Alternative

evaluated in SMART’s EIR, the SMART rail project would result in 1,000 more daily bus transit trips on Sonoma County routes and 4,000 more daily bus trips on Golden Gate and Marin County routes. On the other hand, the EIR found that the Express Bus Alternative would siphon more heavily from existing inter-county routes, bring fewer riders to connecting routes, and would actually result in a net increase of 58,000 lbs per day in greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s all about sustainable choices for our future and for our children. Today’s IJ noted Marinites could save about $4,800 per year in Marin county by living in a transit-option-rich neighborhood and now there are special mortgages for people who choose to. You can save over $10 on a single ride on SMART. Come on people, do you really want to continue relying on ever-expanding highways that fill to capacity in a few years as our only option? It’s time for a change.

Posted by Tired of Status Quo, a resident of another community, 1 hour ago

Bull Mike Arnold, you get such a spaz when anyone defends it.

1) Could, meaning it doesn’t have to be in the plans. Could also run on electricity, powered by solar, wind etc. Expensive, but could. An interesting side effect of you all going to renewable energy down there and if it runs on electricity, it would run on renewable energy.

2) Ok so it didn’t mention freight.

A) You didn’t mention that the farmers are screaming to have it back to reduce feed costs. Which would either reduce costs to consumers, or allow the farmers to stay in business, or both. Apparently you don’t care about the average consumer or the farmer.

B) Noise. You failed to mention that people get used to the noise. It has been shown time and time again.

C) You fail to mention that the mining on the eel river has been going on for over 90 years at the Island Mountain site. The site that you all froth about. The gravel/rock has to come somewhere to build your upgrades to 101, sidewalks, building foundations, building themselves. So in reality you want to push the mining to somewhere else far and distant. By doing this you push the energy needed to transport this up, thus pollution, and costs. So the costs of buildings, including low income, sidewalks, and highways goes up. Again you don’t care for the consumer.


a)You fail to mention that many stations are collocated with or with in easy walking distance of transit centers. Shuttles are not as needed to be funded by SMART as you are trying to imply.

Web Link

b)There is room by that same link to allow bicycles on the trains, or to park them at the stations. Thus buses or car parking not needed, nor shuttles.

c)You fail to mention that there is other rail transit being proposed, that can also feed SMART. Such as the Petaluma Trolley, and another one down in Marin. Thus increasing ridership.

Web Link

A link to your 9 shuttles.

4) a)Imagine what 800 million will do if we didn’t have to spend it on the Novato Narrows. That is ok right? We are spending over one billion in improvements to 101 yet none of them require CEQUA or EIR for the entire route. Which the Arnold’s are trying to force NCRA to do. Hybrid buses will still not get the efficiency of the train.

Web Link

Web Link

b)Your beloved 101 was closed down twice in recent memory. 1st time because of two youth in “love”. 2nd as what do to talking on a cell phone? That means even the buses were delayed. When you keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, your a fool. Keep relying on the highway, seems to be your best solution. Another way to put it, all your solutions is akin to putting all your eggs in one basket, the highway.

5) Diesel engines get better MPG than gasoline. This is due to their increased efficiency. So you your difference may not matter. Your buses still as a majority, use diesel. The buses will always have a higher rolling resistance than trains. The problem is the rubber tire, vs the steel wheel.

b) Your right the 6,000 figure maybe wrong, with the cost of fuel, it maybe higher. Most likely it will be higher.

6) You would prefer it to be never.

7) You keep citing ridership forecasts, yet many ridership’s of old and new rail transit exceeded projections. They are designed to lower(conservative) than actual.

Posted by Capdiamont, a resident of another community, 22 minutes ago

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