SCBC is thrilled to report that on September 15th, the City of Santa Rosa won approval from the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to build a bicycle and pedestrian crossing of the SMART track at Jennings Avenue!
The decision is the result of a four-year effort by the city, local residents, SCBC and other local advocates to preserve the informal crossing near Coddington Mall which had been used for decades until a temporary barrier was erected in November of 2015 to prevent people from crossing the rail line during Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) commuter rail testing and future operations.
With the crossing fenced off, people were forced to find an alternate route along the nearly milelong stretch between College Avenue and Guerneville Road, including dozens of students from nearby Helen M. Lehman Elementary School. However, with SMART already testing along the track and with plans to operate 30 train car trips daily by the end of the year, ensuring the safety of local residents was essential.
As a matter of policy, the Commission disfavors new at-grade crossings; however, in the instance of the Jenning’s Crossing, the Commission ruled that the crossing is in the public interest. The PUC decision means that the city now has permission to formalize the Jennings crossing with safety crossing gates and lights!
Thank you to everyone who attended meetings, wrote letters and/or signed on to SCBC’s letter to the PUC urging approval of the crossing. It was the collective efforts of many that resulted in this terrific outcome for biking and walking!