Sonoma-Marin Rail Transit (SMART) is coming to Novato. The City of Novato is coordinating efforts with SMART as they make improvements to their facilities to allow for passenger trains. More info on SMART and construction updates.
Quiet Zone Information
On Wednesday, May 10, 2017 the San Rafael City Council hosted the City of Novato’s Council for a discussion regarding SMART Quiet Zones. Operations, planned outreach and when to begin the Quiet Zone were discussed. The May 10th meeting is available to view online at:
Following the joint session, the San Rafael City Council met and discussed the timing of the Quiet Zone implementation, and voted to request approval for the start of the Quiet Zone for San Rafael, Novato, and Marin County as soon as possible.
Quiet Zones for the City of Novato, the City of San Rafael and the County of Marin were implemented on Friday, May 12, 2017.
Please be aware that the train horn will not sound at railroad crossings in those areas, unless there is an emergency. SMART urges the public to be alert and aware at all crossings.
For the past few years, the City of Novato has been actively working on establishing quiet zones throughout SMART’s crossings in Novato. In mid-2016, it was discovered that the Hamilton Pedestrian Crossing next to the Hamilton SMART station could not be included in Novato’s independent quiet zone for technical, regulatory reasons. After researching a variety of options that were not successful, the City of Novato approached the City of San Rafael to explore the possibility of creating a comprehensive quiet zone for San Rafael, Marin County and Novato. This comprehensive quiet zone could include the Hamilton Pedestrian Crossing and two private crossings in Marin County (between Novato and San Rafael) in addition to providing Novato a more streamlined application process for quiet zones.
The City Council of the City of San Rafael was supportive of assisting Novato in this effort, but needed confirmation that a revised quiet zone could be implemented before the start of revenue service for SMART. On Wednesday, October 19, the SMART Board of Directors met and confirmed that the launch date for commercial service would be moved to late spring 2017. SMART’s change of timing allows us enough time to complete the comprehensive Quiet Zone process prior to SMART’s commercial operations.
Based on this, a partnership has been created between three jurisdictions - the City of San Rafael, Marin County and the City of Novato - to create one comprehensive quiet zone. The City of San Rafael agreed to serve as the lead agency for applying for the comprehensive quiet zone. The City of Novato is covering the costs for the consultant’s time to resubmit the notice process. Both San Rafael and Novato have now rescinded each agency’s prior individual Notice of Intent and as of Thursday, October 20, a new Notice of Intent to implement a comprehensive Marin quiet zone was submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration, the railroad owners/operators and other required regulatory agencies, together with private crossing owners. The purpose of the Notice of Intent is to allow a 60 day period for railroad owners/operators, regulatory agencies, and owners of private crossings to comment. Once the comment period is complete, the City of San Rafael will review, consider and potentially respond to any comments received on behalf of the three jurisdictions in the quiet zone.
The City Council of Novato had been considering back-up options for the Hamilton Pedestrian crossing including retaining the crossing with a local wayside horn, retaining the crossing with horn noise, and closing the crossing. City staff had held a neighborhood meeting in August and solicited neighborhood input via an on-line survey in September/October 2016. On October 25, the City Council heard an update on the comprehensive quiet zone and agreed that no further action is needed on the back-up options based on the active support for the comprehensive Marin quiet zone with San Rafael.
On Wednesday, May 10, 2017 the City of San Rafael City Council hosted the City of Novato’s Council for a discussion regarding SMART Quiet Zones. Operations, planned outreach and when to begin the Quiet Zone were discussed. The May 10th meeting is available to view online at:
Following the joint session, the San Rafael City Council met and discussed the timing of the Quiet Zone implementation, and voted to request approval for the start of the Quiet Zone for San Rafael, Novato, and Marin County as soon as possible. Quiet Zones were implemented in Novato, San Rafael and Marin County on Friday, May 12, 2017.
Notice of Intent for new Quiet Zone in Novato
On June 6, 2016, staff sent out a Notice of Intent to support the City's proposal to create a new contiguous Quiet Zone along the SMART railroad extending from the North Hamilton Parkway crossing to the Rush Creek Place crossing.
On Sept. 23, 2014, the City Council discussed Quiet Zones (video of meeting and associated staff report). The City supports the establishment of Quiet Zones, and is currently researching the extent of the City's liability if the zones were to be established. Staff plan to come back with more information be or before the end of March 2015.
On September 25, 2012, staff presented a SMART Construction update to the City Council
Hamilton State Access Road Pedestrian Crossing Back-up Options
At their October 25 meeting, the City Council was updated that the partnership of the City of Novato, City of San Rafael, and County of Marin to apply for a comprehensive Quiet Zone is moving forward. Given that the proposed comprehensive Quiet Zone will include the State Access Road Pedestrian Crossing, no action will be taken on the back-up options at this time.
At their October 11 meeting, the City Council received neighborhood feedback via an online survey and all other feedback regarding the Hamilton State Access Road Pedestrian Crossing back-up options--which included closing the pedestrian crossing, retaining the crossing and installing Federal Railroad Administration approved "wayside horns", or retaining the crossing and allowing the horns to sound.
A community meeting was held on Wednesday, August 24 at 6:30pm at the Hamilton Community Center, 503 Palm Drive.
At the June 14, 2016 Council meeting, Council directed staff to conduct a workshop to provide residents an opportunity to learn more about the proposed Quiet Zones and the impact on the Hamilton area, federal regulations on train horns, and to provide feedback on the pedestrian crossing options at the State Access Road, including: A) retain the pedestrian crossing and install "wayside horns", B) retain the pedestrian crossing and no southerly quiet zone, or C) remove the pedestrian crossing.
Downtown Novato SMART StationProposed Downtown Novato SMART Station: On January 26, the City Council considered options for a proposed SMART station for Downtown Novato. Read more >>
SMART Station/platform design
On March 10, 2015, the City Council discussed two station design options and names for the two Novato stations. See staff report.On Sept. 9, 2014, the City Council discussed the design for two proposed SMART stations, and compiled the collective feedback from the public and Council and sent a response to SMART on Sept. 15, 2014.