Northwestern Pacific Railroad Network

Dedicated to Sharing the Heritage of Redwood Empire Railroading

This article in the PD tells a story:

 How does this save rider time when they have to take a bus to get to the station in Santa Rosa?  Just plain stupid planning.  Has Mansourian ever run a passenger railroad?

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I don't expect that SMART ridership will be packing the cars the day the system goes on line.  Not even close.  I don't see SMART ridership justifying its expense for quite possibly decades. (Unlike the railroad execs you cite, SMART is a publicly subsidized transit system, not a for-profit business.)  I am sure that there will be "in-fill" housing density increases around the stations as a result of market demand, rather than SMART's need to draw riders.  In other words, the system creates a desire to live near the station, rather than the system needing to provide development to support itself.  I am also sure that the local municipalities will build parking structures as they see fit.  Those will be for the benefit of local residents and SMART has no need to be going into the parking garage business.  If the structures will support themselves with parking fees, there shouldn't be any need for SMART to build them.  Where I see the real benefit to SMART is over the long term.  With a line that runs to Cloverdale, if not further north, there will definitely be development in the less expensive and less densely populated areas up north.  As we know well from out experience with the automobile, if someone can buy a nicer house farther away from where they work, they will do so and suffer the commute.  SMART will, I believe, move the population pressure (which is inevitable, much as we natives despise it) north and provide respite for the denser areas at the southern end of the line.  This is, after all, exactly how the distribution of development has occurred wherever a rail line or highway system has been built, and particularly so with rail lines.  SMART is a supplement to the highway system, which is rapidly reaching the point where it cannot be expanded any further.  SMART is the safety valve.


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