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I am now living and watching what is happening up here in the Santa Rosa area.
1st there are too overly long trucks with lumber on the highway 101. These loads need to be put onto rail either coming or going into the County.

2nd there seems to be little knowledge, maybe concern for SMART service from people I have talked to. 

Things like "not enough trains" "no parking" and "doesn't connect" are many of the comments I hear.

I will take these issues to the next SMART BoD but more importantly, I want to hear how SMART will "work" to help get these big lumber trucks off of our hiway and onto freight. 

The other thing is garbage/refuse.  I go to the Petaluma Mecham Rd recyling yard and see a huge amount of tonnage going into that yard.  All of that should be going into landfill which I as others to verify, or if not onto rail.

Enough for now.

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What about the dump at the county line right next to the track....

At the County line?

Steve which line is that?  Using the County connection I've only been directed to Mecham Rd.

Is that the one down by the narrows?

Hi Richard,

I believe this dump may be the one Steve suggested.


yes, petaluma dumps their refuse there

I believe the Mechum Road dump has been full for some time and is now basically a transfer and recycling facility. (Their recycling yard is full of goodies. It's hard not to pick up something "you might need someday" every time you go to the dumps!) It may have been allowed some additional dumping due to the fire cleanup, but I'm not sure. Redwood Sanitary Landfill at Burdell (between Novato and Petaluma on 101) is the main regional "dump" these days. It handles all of Marin and Southern Sonoma Counties. The available "landfill" space is rapidly being filled. This is a serious problem for major metropolitan areas around the country. A rail transfer facility at the Redwood Landfill would permit shipping garbage out via rail and might even accommodate a large-scale recycling sorting facility where rail cars were loaded with pre-sorted recyclable materials. This would have the effect of extending the life of the landfill so it could accommodate non-recyclable materials and those more expensive to ship, achieving a net savings in operating costs and a higher profit margin over the operating life of the landfill. … or so it would seem. I'm no garbageman!

The landfill at Mecham just got a 20yr extension before the fires and used up about 5 years worth because of the fires.  I drove past it the middle of the cleanup and trucks were lined up Stony Point road. I heard was over a 2hr wait just to get in there 

I have a friend that drives compacted garbage from Eureka to Willits where another driver takes it to Livermore and the dump there.  I would assume that all the garbage from Willits north gets taken there.

garbage would seem to be a great source of money but where in Sonoma County( I can think of a few spots in Ukiah and Willits) can you build a transfer station?  Doesn't seem to be a lot of sites that would work....can you say NIMBY's   Todd Rd or north of River Rd, ??

I'd expect there'd be plenty of places north of Santa Rosa where a transfer station could be built that could serve the entire north coast. Willits would work. The farther north you go, the less NIMBY it gets. How do they expect to handle the garbage in, say, twenty years, when Mechum and Redwood Sanitary are filled and the population has increased beyond what we can even imagine right now? Their only option will be barging it down the Petaluma River, but I doubt anybody will get away with dumping garbage into the ocean anymore. They are going to have to go to huge central landfill sites in the middle of nowhere in Nevada and Utah and that really means hauling it by rail. 

In south Napa county, just north of Lombard, there is a garbage transfer station with a rail connection:

For many years I used to see the CFNR garbage trains go by my office near Cordelia, 2 inbound and 2 outbound trips per day.  That was until about 10-15 years ago when, by some miracle, it suddenly became cheaper to truck the garbage away.  I simply assumed (without evidence) that the garbage company finally got mobbed-up and were made "an offer they couldn't refuse" to use truckers.

The trains were going to some dump in Wash. State.  Don't know where the garbage is being trucked to now.

How on earth can trucking a bulk waste commodity like garbage be cheaper than train transport?  I had always held out hope that the truckers would win their first contract, but upon renewal it would be back to trains.  Sadly, that never happened.

From Waste 360, 1995-08-01:

Napa Valley, Calif., Implements Waste-By-Rail Program (1995)

The Redwood landfill would seem to be a perfect place to set up a garbage transfer station.  It is right on the NWP RoW and not anywhere close to residential properties.  But are the County commissioners considering this option or just have their head in the sand?  

I can tell you as a new farmer here, we have a lot of field cuttings and a small amount of garbage.  While Mecham Rd is a good recycling place (and junk picking too) they discourage trash. 

Looks like I need to go to County Commission meetings as well as SMART.

Where is our troll from San Rafael or Petaluma when we need his input? 

Not a troll, but I have an idea. Why can't Sonoma County rebuild the rail, on mostly existing ROW, from Petaluma, towards all of the unused land in West County? There are plenty of empty, unused, and hidden valleys out towards the coastal ranches. West of Sebastopol proper, Bloomfield, or even as far out as Bodega. Leaving these open and available valleys just sit, unused, is senseless. They will never be developed for Section 8, subdivisions, or other much needed habitat.

Why? Let me count the ways!

First off, the ROW out from Petaluma to its former terminus at Two Rock has been permanently built over. Most recently, Petaluma built a street on top of it a few years ago where it intersected with Petaluma Boulevard North/Old Redwood highway. There's a big gas station on top of it on the north side, as well.

That ROW has been abandoned for decades and decades. You may think that those "plenty of empty, unused, and hidden valleys out towards the coastal ranches" are "just sitting, unused," but I guarantee you, they are all owned by somebody and the cost of buying back that ROW would be astronomical.

Moreover, the cost of development in the area doesn't pencil out. There is no infrastructure. Construction of adequate roads, public utilities, retail space, and all the rest necessary to develop housing, plus the cost of the housing itself, and the land costs, not to mention the endless environmental hurdles, is prohibitively expensive.

All of the land you are talking about is zoned for, and in use as, agricultural land. Most of it is grazing land. It isn't "unused."

If you are looking to get run out of Sonoma County on a rail, just bring up the idea at any public meeting. I'd advise not doing so!

Yes, you are correct. The row has been gone for some time. No, it would not be wise to approach such an idea in any North Bay forum. The issue of refuse disposal is a touchy one. Doing it by rail just increases the regional resistance. The Sonoma landfills just were not envisioned for the massive growth, and it's biproduct, waste. Aggregates in and waste out are popular ideas to increase rail traffic. However, I would hate to see the gains made by the local railroad reduced by increased nimby resistance. My point is that I don't think it prudent, at this particular time, for the railroad to be inadvertently be in the middle of one of today's big question. That is, "who's backyard is ok for another to be used as a trash depository"? Maybe a Statewide, or multi regional, solution might be necessary to resolve the "WHERE". Then, the shortlines could join in as an effective, cost effective solution for the transportation of refuse.  I don't believe that they should lead the charge. Just my thoughts........


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