Downtown Novato is a better place for a train station

Novato's old station. Image by Jeff on Flickr.

Novato’s old station. Image by Jeff on Flickr.

Novato is reconsidering its decision to push SMART out of downtown Novato and adjacent to Fireman’s Fund. While the calculus seems to be based around the decision by Fireman’s Fund to move, population and jobs numbers today show a downtown location makes much more sense.

Generally speaking, planners define the the catchment area of a train station as a 15 minute walk, or a roughly half-mile radius circle around the station location. Using this metric, the Fireman’s Fund station hosts about 650 jobs, down quite a bit from its peak of 2,400 jobs in 2000. It’s also near 571 people who might want to take the train north or south. Around the downtown station, however, there are still 2,400 jobs and nearly 1,100 people.

Continue reading on theGreaterMarin.org.

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About David Edmondson
A native Marinite working in Washington, DC, I am fascinated by how one might apply smart-growth and urbanist thinking to the low-density towns of my home.

3 Responses to Downtown Novato is a better place for a train station

  1. rihallix says:

    FYI  Largely speculative, but hearing ever stronger rumors that Google is moving to northern Marin – possibly Firemans Fund. Pure speculation of course. Richard From: The Greater Marin To: hallsomerset@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Tuesday, September 8, 2015 10:56 AM Subject: [New post] Downtown Novato is a better place for a train station #yiv8277583225 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8277583225 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8277583225 a.yiv8277583225primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8277583225 a.yiv8277583225primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8277583225 a.yiv8277583225primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8277583225 a.yiv8277583225primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8277583225 WordPress.com | David Edmondson posted: “Novato is reconsidering its decision to push SMART out of downtown Novato and adjacent to Fireman’s Fund. While the calculus seems to be based around the decision by Fireman’s Fund to move, population and jobs numbers today show a downtown location make” | |

  2. Even though the gantlet track is laid and the platform is half-poured, they’d be stupid not to move it downtown. (Or maybe leave what’s been built as a third stop if it didn’t throw off the schedule. The northern location is good for its intended purpose (office workers) but bad for Novato and GG Transit transfers. (The “Novato, the Place to Be” C of C brochure found in hotel lobbies all up and down the state, mainly highlights attractions elsewhere in Marin, but why shouldn’t downtown be a place of arrival and embarcation?).

  3. The cost of the city of Novato adding a downtown depot in a location that was intended to provide additional parking for nearby merchants while only running two stops a day no matter how many depots exist, is simply not good math.

    The North Atherton stop is 1 mile away from Old Town. The remaining commercial area to develop is North Redwood which goes from Grant to Atherton.

    We talk about sustainable development but suggest that a transit rider will be unwilling to walk the mile to either visit Old Town or reach a train.

    Many cities have only one SMART stop. Novato already has two. As North Redwood develops the real problem is SMART reneging on its promise of a multiuse trail to run parallel to the train.

    Novato is not yet a destination city. If it wants to be seen as such it will need to develop its downtown corridor. Spending $5 Million dollars to add a third SMART stop makes little sense at this time.

    If Novato wants to invest $5 Million in infrastructure then let it work with developers to redesign Redwood from Grant to Atherton with dedicated bike lanes, wide accessible walking paths, landscaping that creates shade and offers opportunities to spend time without being in an automobile and most important adding the multiuse path as a part of future development with pedestrians walking throughout the commercial area to reach shops and housing.

    We won’t need yet another SMART station if we create a reason for residents and visitors to stroll throughout our downtown.

    Adding a station with no additional parking for the Copperfields Bookshop slated to go in at Redwood and Grant and for the ailing Novato Theater if it ever manages to get built, means dooming both projects because Novatoan’s depend on their cars for transport and thus far there is little parking available in Old Town.

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