Downtown SMART Station

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Image of station platform 

Current Status: At the May 23, 2017 City Council meeting, Staff presented Council with alternative funding options for Phase II of the Downtown Novato SMART Station project.

 

At the May 9, 2017 City Council meeting, Staff recommended Council adopt a resolution for a grant funding exchange, allocation of $1,305,000 of additional city funds, and to adopt a standard resolution of support in order to fully fund the Downtown Novato SMART Station Phase II project. Following a split vote by Council, Staff was directed to return with alternative funding options.

Project Overview

Downtown SMART Station

Description

Project design and construction for a functional Downtown SMART Station, where passengers can board on and off the train. The project will be completed in three phases, namely:

  • Phase 1: Through and siding-rails, ramp and platform structure in direct conflict with future SMART Rail service.  Completed April 2017
  • Phase 2: Switches, electrical components, positive Train Control technology and platform amenities. Construction anticipated to begin late-2017
  • Phase 3: Depot Lot site improvements--potentially including public parking, landscaping and lighting. Final scope to be determined through a public engagement process. Renovation of the Depot building is not included is not included as part of the project at this time.

After completion of Phase 2, the Downtown Station will be functional SMART Station, where passengers can board on and off the train. SMART will begin service in mid-2017, and will determine the Novato Downtown Station schedule based on ridership demand.


Location

The Downtown Station will be located at the historic Depot site, near the corner of Railroad Avenue at the easternmost end of Grant Avenue. The station will be the third station in Novato, between the San Marin Station to the north and the Hamilton Station to the south.

View project on an interactive map >>


Benefit

The Downtown Station provides a transit alternative to Novato residents, employers and employees, and allows for continued revitalization of Downtown Novato.


Schedule

Phase 1 construction work was completed in April 2017. Phase 2 construction work is anticipated for late-2017 - mid-2018. Phase 3 construction is yet to be determined, pending discussion and future use of site.


Cost Estimate

Phase 1: $2.4 million

Phase 2: $3.1 million

Phase 3: $500,000


Additional Info

At the May 23, 2017 City Council meeting, Staff presented Council with alternative funding options for Phase II of the Downtown Novato SMART Station project. Council committed to funding the gap of $1.305 million from one of 3 sources:

  1. Staff will take 6 weeks to attempt to find additional grant funding from sources, including but not limited to, Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM), Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), State, or Federal, making good faith effort to apply;
  2. If the City has not received a secure commitment of such funding within such 6 week period, the City will fund from sources to be identified by Staff in accordance with the presentation made at the May 23, 2017 Council meeting or other sources as approved by the Council; and
  3. In the event that such other sources are not agreed to when brought back to Council, the gap will be funded by a loan from the Hamilton Trust.

At the May 9, 2017 City Council meeting, Staff recommended Council adopt a resolution for a grant funding exchange, allocation of $1,305,000 of additional City funds, and to adopt a standard resolution of support in order to fully fund the Downtown Novato SMART Station Phase II project. Following a split vote by Council, Staff was directed to return with alternative funding options.

At their January 26, 2016 City Council meeting, Council approved an initial phase of a Downtown SMART Station.  

Background Information

At the September 15, 2015 City Council meeting, staff was requested to agendize the City Council's consideration of funding a feasibility study for a Downtown SMART Train Station adjacent to the Old Train Depot at Grant & Railroad Avenues. The proposed Downtown Novato SMART station would be a third station for Novato--the other two locations are San Marin and Hamilton.

The requested hearing occurred on October 6, 2015 where Council directed staff to expend up to $100,000 in reimbursing SMART and their consultants for a service planning and engineering feasibility study, and bring the issue back for public consideration as soon as it was complete.

SMART staff and their team of engineers (LTK Engineering Services) and contractor (Stacy and Witbeck) have completed their engineering and cost analysis and provided two options--a full station and a phased-construction option. Another option for Council is to not proceed with a downtown station. The costs described in each option are preliminary estimates prepared by SMART.

At their Jan. 12 meeting, the City Council received a staff presentation  for the following options: 

Option #1 - Full Downtown Station
The study estimates that the project design and construction costs for a functional downtown station would be about $5 million--resulting is three SMART stations in Novato.

Option #2 - Phased Rail Infrastructure Project
This option includes initial construction of track work and limited site work at an approximate cost of $2.6 million. Additional station and platform work would occur in the future—at an additional cost. This option may require the platform to remain fenced for safety and security until the station becomes operational at an undetermined time in the future. The balance of the site improvements could then be designed and bid at a later time, with the balance of the platform features, rail equipment, controls and integration. The cost of the first phase is estimated at $2.6 million.

Option #3 - No Downtown Station
The other option for Council is to decide not to invest in a downtown station.

WHY NOW?
The Novato City Council wanted to explore this possibility before SMART service begins at the end of 2016.

Fiscal Considerations

The City of Novato has some one-time funds that could be used for this proposed project. The funds are currently in several funding categories, some of which are already allocated to other projects while other funds are currently unallocated. The below funding possibilities are a complete list of potential City funds available for this project, not a recommendation to use any particular funding source. The City could use one or multiple sources listed below, including a blend of one-time funds and debt financing to complete the project.

Funding Possibilities 
One-time Funding Source possibilities:  Unallocated One-Time Funds
  • Unallocated Measure F $5,500,000
  • Novato Public Finance Authority Fund $600,000

Exist. Allocated One-Time Funds

  • Measure F Risk Mitigation Reserve $3,000,000
  • Council Committed Projects/Funds $2,000,000 - $3,000,000

Potential Future Funds

  • Buck Trust Dev. Agreement $1,000,000
  • Hamilton Hospital Sale Agreement $2,000,000
  • Hamilton Cottages Sale Agreement $500,000
  • (Resolution of $5.2M Redevelopment Lawsuit in 2016?)
Debt Financing 
  • No use of reserves
  • Consider interest expense
  • Requires additional research--bring back on 1/26
Station Construction Costs
Option #1   Single Phase SMART Improvements $5,000,000 
Option #2  Phased Project
Phase 1: Rail/Platform Improvements $2,600,000
Phase 2: Platform Finish/SMART Operations $2,400,000 (current estimated cost)
Other Costs for either option

SMART Feasibility Study Costs   $50,000 (completed)
Parking/Lighting/Landscaping    $400,000

Extended Phase I Archaeological Study   $10,000 - $40,000


Contact Info

Project Manager
Russ Thompson, PE, Public Works Director
415.899.8246
rthompson@novato.org

Public Works Department
415.899.8246
pw@novato.org

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