News
May 27, 2017
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
The annual Avenue of Flags May 29 at RP Community Center SSU commencement; one for the history books Problem reaching AT&T last weekend? During Rohnert Park City Council meeting protestors unexpectedly take center stage Vehicle pursuit ends with arrest of 14-year-old Ex RP public safety officer pleads no contest to sex offenses Rancho 2017 top 20 Great turnout for RPPSOA pancake breakfast to help Project Grad Gabriella stole the show Town Hall meeting Sheriff's office releases details on SSU officer involved shooting A true celebration of ‘Cinco de Mayo’ Project Grad help in full swing Richard Crane Elementary School Suspect arrested after evading a Cotati Peace Officer Emiri Nomura awarded scholarship Shopping carts ran amok in Cotati last Saturday Ricardo Oliva receives ‘Coach of the year’ for the Northern District Sonoma State University equestrians jump with joy on their way to Kentucky Double Decker Lanes hosts the QubicaAMF Boys and Girl Club employee arrested for child endangerment Armed suspect arrested after resistance RP girl accosted while walking to school And they're off. . . Saddle Up and Ride Community quickly rallies for Project Grad Cotati opposes SB 618 Rohnert Park City Council to host Town Hall meeting on May 3 Graton Tribe makes good on payments Auto burglar arrested by Cotati Police A bit of Uganda A mission to help RP to replace old trees Engineering with Legos at the Ray Miller Community room Bunkers at Foxtail set for repairs RP man arrested for attempted murder CRPUSD OKs two contracts Credo gets used to new digs at SMV Man busted for DUI after crashing into tree in RP New hands bring subtle changes to Sharing of the Green fundraiser A traditional dance of Japan Shameful time in history RP rejects new self-storage facilities Survey Says: Rohnert Park Residents Love City, but not Traffic Council amends UDSP Body of missing woman found RAFD names part-time fire chief KRCB garners huge windfall from FCC auction Missing Penngrove woman's body found in Marin County Bunfest was hopping with bunny lovers Nonn expected to sue CRPUSD Credo crew marches to new home Cotati delays vote on Valparaiso The Voice enters into 25th year Cotati-reviews midyear budget Two RP Parks getting upgrades A new look for SSU gym RP man reported missing Padre Town Center changes hands Sonoma County to take a look at immigration issue Bomb scare closes RCHS Local Tech High student chosen for Scholars program RP to conduct survey Man arrested after high-speed chase through 3 cities RP makes changes to city code for ADUs Man gets 11 years in prison for RP knife attack Man who led chase into SF caught Treasurer for Rancho Cotate High Project Grad Arrested for Embezzlement A crab feast at Community Center Taking a pie in her grill RP man busted for possession of meth Cotati OKs water, sewer rate study RP votes to regulate vaping CRPUSD schools now a safe haven for immigrant students RP adds seven to public safety Cotati votes to host shopping cart race Man arrested for attempted murder Defibrillators proving to be invaluable assets Artists ready for art show at library Reilani Peleti Corrections Suspected explosive device at RCHS Seventh-graders in local schools to be taught CPR Voice issues apology to school board, superintendent RP man arrested on drug possession charges

Golf Course Drive Crossing concerns may delay SMART train ‘Quiet Zones’

  • SMART train at Golf Course crossing

By: Community Voice Staff
April 14, 2017

Rohnert Park City Council stopped short of approving “quiet zones” at all three SMART train crossings Tuesday night, with the Golf Course Drive crossing proving to be the sticking point for a split council vote. The Council did vote to continue the process, however, of establishing quiet zones and their required safety measures at the Expressway and Southwest Boulevard crossings.

“I’m very concerned about Golf Course Drive,” said Councilmember Gina Belforte.

The original motion lost, 2-2-1, with Mayor Mackenzie and Vice-Mayor Stafford in favor, Councilmembers Callinan and Belforte against, and Councilmember Ahanotu absent.

The Council approved an amended resolution, directing staff to return with options to mitigate Council’s concerns about the safety issues posed by a quiet zone at the Golf Course Drive crossing. The city will go ahead with the safety measure for the other two crossings, which the Council had no issues with. 

“My only concern is that (Golf Course Drive) is such a dangerous intersection already,” said Councilmember Joe Callinan.

“The bars are going to come down, people will still know the trains are coming,” said Vice-Mayor Pam Stafford. “I just don’t want there to be more of a delay. I just hate to see all the work the staff has done on it and for all the people in the community to be disappointed.”

Mayor Jake Mackenzie said a waiver may be possible to exclude Golf Course Drive from the regional quiet zone agreement Rohnert Park has joined with the County and other cities. “Golf Course Drive crossing is recognized as the most problematic crossing in the SMART system. The question is can there be a waiver that requires the operators to sound their horn going through Golf Course Drive?”

If a waiver is not possible, it may delay, complicate or delay the implementation of quiet zones in Rohnert Park due to the joint agreement with the County.

Mackenzie is well versed in this issue. Earlier this year, he became the first Sonoma County representative since 1983 to chair the California Metropolitan Transportation Commission. He also serves on the boards of SMART and the Sonoma County Transportation Authority/Regional Climate Protection Authority.

Federal law stipulates a train must begin blowing its horn 15-20 seconds before reaching a crossing and in specific pattern – two long horn blows, one short horn blow and one long whistle blast. That process must be repeated until the train reaches the crossing. The horn must also be blown if the engineer sees anyone on the tracks.

All jurisdictions along the SMART corridor have started the process of establishing quiet zones.

Quiet zones would limit — but not eliminate — the sounding of train horns. “Quiet zone is maybe not the best thing,” suggested City Manager Darrin Jenkins. “Quieter zone, maybe.”

Mackenzie added, “I don’t want people to be under any misapprehension... this does not mean that there will be no horns being heard in our neighborhoods, but they will not be at every crossing.”

Callinan said he is sympathetic to the issues of the noise caused by the trains — his daughter even sold her house in B Section because the train horn was “crazy loud,” he said. But he had concerns about the language of the quiet zone agreement with SMART, which potentially leaves the city open to liability in the event of an accident in one of the city’s established quiet zones.

So far, the city has identified a plan and cost for extra safety measures needed to accommodate these zones. SMART has agreed to pay for part of these safety measures, which include signs and improvements to concrete medians on Expressway and Southwest Boulevard.

Total cost is estimated at $256,500 for the quiet zone safety requirements and additional accessibility requirements. Funding comes from gas taxes, SMART and a community development grant.

There are 14 public crossings in Sonoma County. The five crossings creating a noise problem in Rohnert Park and Cotati are at Golf Course Drive, Expressway, Southwest Boulevard, East Cotati Avenue and East Railroad Drive. Trains are expected to run through Rohnert Park between 5:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.