Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SMART Protestors Harassed At Train Rally

September 24, 2008- Marin County brightpathvideo

SMART train opponents had one of their signs spat on and their posters blocked and tampered with by train supporters at a rally that was held today at Larkspur California’s Cal-Park tunnel to celebrate the commencement of the construction work on the tunnel. Present at the meeting were representatives of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Assemlyman 6th District, Jared Huffman, former Marin Supervisor, Cynthia Murray and SMART chair, Marin Supervisor, Charles McGlashan. Both McGlashan and Huffman downplayed the significance of potential harm to endangered species living along one of the trains Marin corridors, Gallinas Creek. Train opponents site traffic congestion,
increased development and spiraling costs as problems minimized by train supporters.

For more information on the “real” impacts and costs of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, see

This is the video of a clapper rail filmed near the train bridge in September 2006:

Fact No. 1: Rail would not reduce congestion on Highway 101. SMART’s EIRs show that congestion levels all along Highway 101 would be no different with or without the train. Only 230 Sonoma county residents would take the train to Marin County during the morning peak by 2025-very few compared to the number making the trip by car.

Fact No. 2: The train would be an enormous expense, considering the few riders projected to take it. SMART's Project Funding Plan indicates that SMART would spend
$1.3 Billion over 20 years. Based on the projected number of riders, SMART would spend $50 per one-way ride.

By contrast, Golden Gate Transit's capital and operating costs per rider were $9 in 2006. In 2008 GGT and Marin County Transit provided 32,000 passenger-trips per day. Compare this to SMART’s estimate of 5,650 per day by 2025. .

Fact No. 3: Express buses would work far better in Marin and Sonoma than rail. Jobs are dispersed throughout the north bay, rather than in one or two economic centers. Ask yourself how you would get from a rail station to a job a mile from the station. Bus service would be far more convenient and would cost far less.

Fact No.4: SMART will compete with existing bus systems both for riders and funding. In many areas in which rail service has been introduced, bus service was reduced or realigned to promote rail use. In Los Angeles overall transit use declined after rail service began because bus routes were eliminated or realigned and bus fares were raised.

Rail backers want you to ignore these facts. Don't be railroaded by the slick literature you're sure to get this fall. The North Bay has much to lose if this measure passes.

30 million autos & trucks cross the Richmond San Rafael bridge every year making trips into Marin County. The train will have no impact on this traffic pattern. In-fill housing will add about 50,000 units along the trains length....think about the number of car trips that this will add. SMART is a developers' dream. Clapper rail habitat will be permanently lost if the train is allowed to cross the Gallinas Creek wetland.

Trains usually require a 3/4% tax, not a 1/2% tax as SMART is proposing. Trains in general are good ideas, however, this train is trying to cram itself into an infrastructure that will be severely effected in a stressful manner. The negatives far outweigh the positives on the train. Alternative fueled mass transit busing is the way to go in Marin and Sonoma.

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