SMART has completed the bulk of their construction project to bring the SMART trains from central San Rafael to Larkspur. In the course of this “second operating segment”, SMART contractors rebuilt the entire track, spent two consecutive weekends crossing Second and Third Streets, replaced the bridge that crosses the San Rafael Creek with two brand new rail bridges, flipped the SMART tracks and Francisco Blvd West to eliminate two rail crossings, and rebuilt the entire intersections at Rice and Andersen Drive. This monumental undertaking impacted downtown San Rafael for more than a year and we are very happy to have this construction work behind us. Now the fun begins! SMART will begin testing the new rail segment beginning August 23rd. The testing will occur from 9:30 PM to 3:30 PM on weekdays and 9:30 PM till 8:00 AM on weekends. Trains will be moving over the tracks and through the rail crossing at Third, Second, and Jacoby Street, as well as, Rice and Andersen Drive. Because SMART is testing their equipment, they will be sounding the train horns at each of the crossings as the trains move through. Though this will be disruptive to residents and businesses near the tracks, sounding the train horns is essential for safety during this critical testing phase. SMART has assured us that they will finish their testing as soon as they can, but the train horns may be sounding for several weeks until they are assured their signals and other equipment a functioning properly.
As with the initial operating segment, the City has filed a Notice of Intent to establish a Quiet Zone in the segment from Third Street to Andersen Drive. The comment period has closed, and only minimal comments were received. One of the comments we got was from SMART asking that we establish the Quiet Zone to coincide with commercial operations. The Federal Railroad Administration and California Public Utilities Commission still require a diagnostic review of the crossings which is scheduled to occur on September 19th. Once that occurs, and any glitches are resolved, we should be in a position to establish the Quiet Zone following a required thirty-day notice to SMART!