|Cotati and RP – a tale of two SMART train depots
RP’s plans for depot tied to SunCal’s plans for former State Farm Insurance land
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, better known as SMART, is working on upgrading the former NWPRR trackage between Santa Rosa and downtown San Rafael.
This will be the first segment of the commute train’s eventual route between Cloverdale and Larkspur.
It also means both Rohnert Park and Cotati are readying train depots for commuters and others curious to see how the whole thing works out after so many years of debates, meetings and legislation.
There’s quite a contrast between the two. Here it is the first week of February 2014 and Cotati’s building a traditional train depot alongside the tracks on East Cotati Avenue and calling the area a Transit Hub.
All they have in Rohnert Park thus far are pilings buried in the ground on the east side of the former State Farm Insurance site. The pilings will eventually hold a roofed platform for passengers.
The reason for RP’s hesitancy in building any sort of depot is SunCal Co., the Irvine-based developers, can be partially blamed. They bought State Farm’s 230-acre parcel but have yet to release any plans for it except to mention the phrase “mixed use,” which tells us little.
At SMART’s headquarters, Matt Stevens, community outreach director, said, ”We’re working on two phases. One is to upgrade the rails for this first segment and the second is to build platforms for passengers. The cities will do the work on what kind of depot they want adjacent to the platforms.”
Added Stevens, “Our job is to just build platforms for passengers boarding and departing the trains.”
Cotati will have platforms on both sides of the tracks, east and west, plus the depot; RP will just have a platform on the west side. Valley Village mobile home park is on the east side of the RP tracks. The city could decide it needs a regular train depot next to the platform like Cotati has. This might involve talks with SunCal, but they have not been scheduled as yet.