Two segments of the SMART multiuse path (MUP) are funded for construction in 2022, and are in the design phase. One will close the gap between Golf Course Drive in Rohnert Park and Bellevue Avenue in south Santa Rosa. The other will connect Southpoint Boulevard in Petaluma with the future station at Corona Road.
In January, SMART staff told the city of Petaluma that they were looking to eliminate a key section of the MUP between Southpoint Blvd. and N. McDowell Blvd., instead directing pathway users onto North McDowell – a route that is currently treacherous for cyclists. This contradicted the 50% design document submitted to the city in November, in which the path follows the railroad right-of-way. SMART cited two factors: the challenge of crossing North McDowell (where the tracks cross at a steep angle), and issues with environmental clearance.
We find this alignment unacceptable.
MUP users will have to cross McDowell no matter which alignment is used, so this does not seem a legitimate barrier. The railroad right-of-way route has CEQA clearance, but possibly not NEPA. (CEQA is California, NEPA is Federal.) This could be addressed by using state funding for this section rather than Federal.
Petaluma residents have joined us in protesting this proposal and we will continue to monitor the situation.
You can submit comments to the SMART Board of Directors here.