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Question: SMART went through and upgraded a lot of train crossings in the Santa Rosa area.  I am wondering about the crossing at Airport Boulevard.  It has not been upgraded, even though the one further north at Shiloh has.  Are they going to do this one, too, at some point?  It just seems odd that it has not been done. — Evelyn Reynolds, Santa Rosa

Answer: The railroad crossings east of Santa Rosa are not part of SMART’s Phase 1 construction. Due to the economic downturn, the passenger rail line was broken into two segments, with tracks moving north from Santa Rosa and south from San Rafael delayed until Phase 2 funding is available.

In Santa Rosa, that means the the track stops just south of Airport Blvd., where a maintenance facility will be built. Don’t expect the Airport crossing to be upgraded until Phase 2.

In the meantime, the town of Windsor has decided to upgrade the Shiloh Road crossing themselves, said SMART spokesman Matt Stevens. And at Fulton Road and Main Street in Penngrove, Sonoma County has gotten permits from SMART to repave the roads up to the rails later this fall, according to Tom O’Kane, the county Transportation and Public Works Department’s deputy director.

Here’s a map that makes it easier to understand the difference between Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects, as well as the stations that have already been approved. You’ll note that the Sonoma County Airport station is listed as “potential” and the North Petaluma station is listed as “planned,” which means neither is included in Phase 1.

Earlier this month, SMART moved one step closer to funding the final southern rail, linking San Rafael to the Larkspur Ferry and making it possible for transit riders to reach San Francisco without catching a bus. Here’s a Road Warrior post explaining the money and the goal.

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