Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What's the Opposite of SMART?

Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, or SMART, is a proposed commuter (DMU) line linking Cloverdale, in the far north of Sonoma County, with Larkspur in Marin, via the dormant tracks of the Northwestern Pacific Railway.

In the November 2006 election, a sales tax to support it barely missed the 2/3 supermajority needed to pass it. It sailed through in Sonoma county, but floundered in Marin, due to concerted opposition by train-haters in Novato, suspect environmentalists concerned that trains might disturb wildlife, and the usual assortment of exurban NIMBY cranks.

I wrote an analysis of the SMART initiative's future prospects here.

SMART will be back on the ballot this November, and I'm optimistic about its prospects, since a presidential election usually gets the right sort of people (from my perspective!) to the polls, and two years of sitting in traffic on the 101 have probably changed a few minds (reconstruction of the 101/580 interchange in San Rafael, and its resulting traffic snarls, has hopefully reinforced the futility of highway improvements).

To their credit the SMART board and SMART backers have gone on the offensive to counter some of the arguments and disinformation that defeated their 2006 initiative. I recommend a look at their new website, which not only has good information about SMART, but a nice analysis of what makes different transportation modes cost-effective (anyone who still likes BART-to-SJ should really read this!).

Great! But how can those of us outside of the North Bay help out? I have an idea--playing off of SMART's acronym, I'm launching an acronym contest of my own.

Come up with an unflattering acronym for people who oppose SMART.

Imagine filling in the blank in the slogan: "Don't be (a) ... get SMART!"

Here's some suggestions to kick it off:

  • Stuck in Traffic Unable to Picture Innovative Directions
  • Dependent on Oil Poser Environmentalist
  • De-Urbanized Marin Bitches (perhaps not my most productive idea)

Think up stuff, post your ideas as comments!

In the spirit of open-source development, everyone should feel free to cannibalize from previous suggestions and improve on them.

Petaluma Depot


sanddune88 said...

Don't be a SMARTASS, Get SMART

SMARTASS = Sonoma Marin Area Residents Totally Against Sensible Solutions

295bus said...

From Bob/Access Systems, via the Trolleys-RemovalAndRebirth group:

Opposed to


Also note: I am temporarily allowing anonymous comments to drum up more submissions.

murphstahoe said...

I'm in a quandry. We just bought a house in Healdsburg that we are going to run as a vacation rental, and will be moving from our current apartment in SF to a smaller place. I would be loathe to give up my SF "citizenship" but I could "move" to Healdsburg and get to vote for SMART. I think I have to stick to my real primary residence but I'll be campaigning when I'm in Sonoma.

I know those tracks, it's a single track so I'll probably never benefit from "reverse" service to Healdsburg in the AM, but there's no doubt it will be of value.

295bus - you ride Caltrain from Menlo to Mountain View in the bike car? No doubt our paths have crossed... I've been riding SF->Mountain View/Sunnyvale for 10 years. Yet this is the first time I've found your blog, I'll add it to my transit reading addiction.


295bus said...

Hi Murph--thanks for reading!

I generally sit in the non-bike end of the bike car with a helmet on, so that's one way of spotting me on the train. My bike also stands out as usually being the cheapest, oldest, scratched-upped-est one on the train.

According to the SMART FAQ

they will operate reverse commute service using passing sidings.

They seem to be interested in serving people commuting within the North Bay, instead of just to SF, which is good (should be a growing pattern in the future).

murphstahoe said...

In the bike car itself, in the lower seats? That's where I always sit. Usually Alto Velo jersey and a very non-cheap, but allowed to be scratched (bikes are meant to be ridden) Titanium Seven.

We'll see. I'm very optimistic. It's amazing how many people commute from Santa Rosa (and beyond)to San Francisco. On Mondays I take GG Transit 72 at 5:50 AM from Santa Rosa. It's gone from 50% full to 100% full with occasional standees (not comfortable on that bus) in 6 months.

Peter said...

we need to lose the background. impossible to read the text.

murphstahoe said...

I'm pretty sure we both boarded at the same time at Menlo this AM. I didn't think much of it until I was getting off, there was a guy who didn't take his helmet off, with a TellMe backpack and TellMe's 2 blocks from MTV.

Detective Murph

295bus said...

That's me!

Yeah, I work at Tellme, "a company recently acquired by Microsoft".

I haven't quite gotten to the point of just telling people I work for Microsoft.

I stayed on the train because I had to go down to SJ to get my May pass.

murphstahoe said...

Small world.

I am guessing your next rant is "We should be able to use commuter checks in the vending machines!" I ran into that issue yesterday when I rode down to San Carlos, boarded the train, and the conductor said "April pass, good only til Noon". Doh!

After an effort to buy a discounted monthly from a couple of Craig's Listers (all of whom were in SF), I grudgingly bought a one way ticket to ride home, then this AM instead of riding my bike to Millbrae, I rode to 4th, bought my pass, took the train to Millbrae and met the group.

The question is - if you are a Menlo to Mountain View monthly commuter - does the conductor make you buy a zone extender just to take the train to San Jose so you can buy your pass, given that we can't use the commuter checks anywhere but 4th or Diridon?

295bus said...

My friends tell me commuter checks + tickets by mail works well. I just haven't gotten around to doing that.

Every month I think I'm going to do something cool, like bike to Fremont and ride Amtrak down to SJ, sometime during the last week of the month, or at least think of something interesting to do down in SJ (at least lunch) but just end up making a stupid trip for nothing but getting a ticket.

And yeah, I have to buy a zone upgrade.

You can buy tickets at the CalTrain/SamTrans building in San Carlos, btw (big glass building downtown with the digital clock/thermomemeter). It's a little weird, you have to sign in, show ID, and get a visitor pass, like you're visiting some high security facility. But they do sell them. Don't know why they don't publicize that more.

Since my commuter checks always cover more than my CalTrain pass, I'm going to try to use the extra on child-fare SamTrans tokens sometime, as long as I'm in their office.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing you on the train sometime soon!

295bus said...

From Alan Kline, via SFMuniHistory:

MORON -- Marinites Opposed to Rail Options Now