Capdiamont\’s Weblog

Sonoma and Marin area railroad news
Tuesday 24 Feb 2009, 11:01
Filed under: bicycle, Marin, Railroad, SMART, Sonoma, transit | Tags: , ,

SR DP: Bike and pedestrian bridge talks underway in Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa bike enthusiasts and city officials are moving forward with a study for a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 that could link Santa Rosa Junior College and a proposed westside commuter rail station.

The city held its first public forum last week as part of a $117,000 feasibility study for the bridge. The work is conducted by the designer of the $6.4 million cycling and pedestrian bridge over Interstate 80 in Berkeley.

The junior college set aside $1 million for the freeway overcrossing as part of settling a 2004 lawsuit over the multi-story parking garage in front of Bailey Field. The money comes from a $251 million bond measure approved by Sonoma County voters in 2002.

SkyTran holds promise for Marin

SkyTran’s PRT idea is of two-person, computer-directed, electrically propelled pods so small and light that they can travel rapidly above existing traffic along light, inexpensive monorail lines with such a small footprint that a line could circle all of Marin’s main towns at an affordable price (SkyTran claims around $500,000 per mile, including everything).

When a user requests a
pod, a free pod arrives within a very few minutes (no need to wait for a fixed schedule). Then, he or she gets a computer-controlled nonstop trip to the selected destination, arriving within 5 to 15 minutes. On- and off-ramps prevent pods stopping at a station from slowing down the rest of the traffic, and once safety has been verified, administrators can dial speeds up to as high as 150 mph.

The real purpose of the SkyTran demonstration system will be as a proof-of-concept model for both SkyTran and Marin. However, since not everyone is healthy, unhurried and unburdened enough to enjoy walking the half mile between SMART and the Civic Center in all weather, it will no doubt also help to attract SMART riders that would otherwise drive to the Civic Center.

SFGate: A piece of railroad history returns to Mt. Tam

An artifact from the crookedest railroad in the world returned from out of the mists of the past Monday to the summit of Mount Tamalpais, where it will be installed in a place of honor.

It is one of the oddest pieces of mountain railroading – a “gravity car” that carried passengers down the mountain from the top to Mill Valley in the heyday of the Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway.

Neat to see a little bit more railroads in Marin County.

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