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Old Posted Jan 6, 2010, 10:56 PM
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northbay northbay is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Cotati - The Hub of Sonoma County
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Originally Posted by OhioGuy View Post
So how's SMART coming along? When will construction finally begin? Any plans for transit oriented development in the vicinity of stations?
most construction will get started in a year or so. heres recent news re: a tod at railroad square. the sonoma county taxpayers association pisses me off so much - they oppose any tax no matter what - money for schools even!! selfish bastards.

Originally Posted by the press democrat
Builder, taxpayer groups protest SMART deal


Published: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 6:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 6:45 p.m.

Leaders of the North Coast Builders Exchange and the Sonoma County Taxpayers Association demanded Wednesday that SMART directors put a stop to negotiations between their Railroad Square project developer and a group representing labor and environmental interests.

Debate over the housing and retail project mirrors complaints the same groups have raised about the influence of the Accountable Development Coalition, composed of unions, housing advocates and environmental groups, in the Sonoma Mountain Village development in Rohnert Park.

There, the coalition has agreed to support a large-scale development of homes, businesses and industrial sites in what critics complain is a blatant attempt to buy off union and environmental opposition.

Keith Woods, executive director for the North Coast Builders Exchange, and others said Wednesday that the negotiations endorsed by SMART will result in a “project labor agreement” that will prevent non-union firms from bidding on aspects of the housing and retail project attached to the Railroad Square train station.

“There should be no discrimination in the bidding process when you use taxpayer money,” Woods said.

Jack Atkin, president of the Taxpayers Association, criticized the negotiations, contending they would limit public scrutiny over how the quarter-cent sales tax is spent on the project planned for Santa Rosa’s largest rail stop.

“It is not in the light of day. It is a back room deal,” Atkin said.

Woods and Aktin were among about a dozen people representing non-union contractors, construction companies and taxpayer groups. The contigent walked out of the SMART board’s public comment session after delivering their complaints and failing to get a response from board members.

Contacted after the four-hour board meeting, board vice-chair Debora Fudge denied the group’s allegations and said the complaints had misrepresented the nature of discussions between developer John Stewart and groups interested in different aspects of the development.

She said the agreement would not preclude non-union contractors from proposing low-cost bids on aspects of the Railroad Square project. So far, the developer has been in negotiations with the coalition, but has not begun similar talks with neighborhood and area business groups that have said they want to weigh in.

“We were surprised that the speakers were so upset because these are issues that were approved a year ago in open sessions,” Fudge said. “They are seeking inflammatory news coverage and saying things that are not true.”

Fudge said SMART had requested that the developer come to a “community benefits agreement” with the Accountable Development Coalition, along with other groups that include the West End Neighborhood Association, the Historic Railroad Square Association, the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. Such an agreement establishes guidelines such as affordable housing units, worker wages, green building standards and bike-friendly features, she said.

Most of those elements already are required in SMART’s request for project proposals and the agreement ensures that the desires of interested community groups are taken into consideration by the developer, she said. She said the SMART board has the right to reject the agreement.

SMART, short for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit system, is developing a 71-mile line from Cloverdale to Larkspur with rail stations in Railroad Square, Coddingtown, Petaluma and Cloverdale that are attracting attention from an array of groups interested in transit-oriented projects.
and theyre having another public meeting on the rail vehicles:

Originally Posted by the press democrat
Public input sought for SMART trains' setup


Published: Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 2:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 2:27 p.m.

The public will get a second chance to tell Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit planners what they would like the rail cars to look like at a hearing in San Rafael.

Rail system directors already have chosen self-propelled, American-style, heavy railroad cars for the 71-mile line, which is scheduled to begin running in 2014 from Cloverdale to Larkspur.

Some extras for riders already are planned, such as wireless Internet access, power strips to plug in laptops, reading lights and overhead luggage racks.

What’s left are decisions on how many and the types of seats and whether there are bathrooms, food and drink concessions and bicycle racks.

The first hearing was held in Santa Rosa. Attendees representing the disabled asked for 32-inch-wide aisles to accommodate wheelchairs and bicycling advocates suggested using some fold-up seats to provide for 15 to 20 percent space for bicycles.

SMART is ordering 22 cars, which will run in dual pairs, at a cost of $80 million to $90 million.

The board of directors will make a final decision in March.

LTK Engineering Services of Ambler, Pa., is developing the specifications, which will include such performance criteria as ride, vibration, side sway, acceleration and braking.

The hearing will be at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 13 at the San Rafael Corporate Center’s Tamalpais Meeting Room, 750 Lindaro St.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or
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Last edited by northbay; Jan 7, 2010 at 12:10 AM.
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