PROJECT TRAIL:SMART Pathway

  • States: California
  • Counties: Marin, Sonoma
  • Length: 70 miles
  • Trail end points: Larkspur to Cloverdale

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) commuter rail line and parallel pathway will stretch 70 miles between Cloverdale and Larkspur. This dual transportation system will connect 14 train stations and 10 cities across two counties, Sonoma and Marin.

Of the SMART Pathway’s planned 70 miles, 52 will be alongside the tracks; much of the remaining 18 miles will consist of on-road bikeways. As of September 2013, about five miles of the off-road trail are on the ground already, including the Foss Creek Pathway, and about a third of the on-road sections are signed and striped.

Not only is the route hoped to alleviate traffic congestion is the area, but it will also be a recreational amenity, offering views of Sonoma’s scenic vineyard countryside and Marin County's craggy terrain.

The trail's most unusual feature lies on its southern end: the Cal Park Hill Tunnel, a relic of Northwestern Pacific Railroad, which was active here in the early 1900s when northern California's towering redwoods were being harvested for lumber. More than 100 years later, the SMART rail line follows that same corridor, converting the tunnel for the modern day by adding a separated trail for bicyclists and pedestrians alongside the trains.

SMART commuter rail service is expected to begin by late 2015 or early 2016 with trains running every 30 minutes during peak weekday hours. Mid-day and weekend service will also be offered. The train cars will have room for bikes, allowing passengers to combine riding the trail and the train for recreation and commuting.

 



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