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Downtown SMART Station

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 Novato Downtown SMART Station Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 10:30am
Novato Downtown SMART Station at Grant & Railroad Avenues

The City of Novato and Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) are excited to announce the start of service at the Novato Downtown SMART Station. Please join us for a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 10:30am to commemorate the arrival of the first train at the Novato Downtown Station at Grant and Railroad Avenues. The event will feature a short agenda with guest speakers and light refreshments.

SMART is also hosting their annual Holiday Express Toy Drive on this day. To donate, bring an unwrapped toy or gift card to drop-off at the ribbon cutting event. Additionally, SMART is collecting toy donations all day Saturday, 12/14, on board the train.

Please see SMART schedule for additional service details.

SMART Station Work Update 11/6/19

 In preparation for the start of passenger service at the Novato Downtown SMART station, SMART will begin testing on Friday, November 8, 2019 at 11pm through Monday, November 11, 2019 at 2am of the crossing warning and train control systems.


Testing will occur overnight and during daytime hours and is scheduled as follows:

  • Friday, 11/8 at 11pm - Saturday, 11/9 at 1pm - Testing of the railroad crossings (no trains) including occasional bells and lights flashing from Rush Creek Place to Franklin pedestrian crossing.
  • Saturday, 11/9 from 1pm - 10pm - Crossings testing including bells ringing, lights flashing, and train horns at Olive, Grant/Railroad, and Franklin pedestrian crossings (Please note, it is federally required to use horns while testing at railroad crossings.)
  • Saturday, 11/9 at 10pm - Monday, 11/11 at 2am - Train control testing including bells ringing and lights flashing from Rush Creek Place to Hamilton pedestrian crossing.

During this testing, flaggers will be present at railroad crossings and drivers are advised to slow down and be aware that crossing gates may be down


Testing will require rail service shutdown on Saturday, 11/9 & Sunday, 11/10, and shuttle service will be provided at the Downtown Petaluma, Novato San Marin and Novato Hamilton stations. Before leaving home, please check the SMART schedule at


The Novato Downtown SMART Station is located at Grant & Railroad Avenues and is anticipated to begin service at the end of the year. For project information and updates, please visit


Construction Update 08/22/19

SMART will be completing grinding work on the new gauntlet track at the Downtown Station on Friday, August 23 from 9pm - 12am.


Construction Update 08/05/19
SMART has scheduled construction work beginning Friday, August 9 at 9pm and continuing through early Sunday morning, August 11, 2019. The contractor will be working overnight.


Due to this construction work, the section of track at the Novato Downtown Station will be closed on Saturday, August 10, 2019, and SMART will provide a shuttle between the San Marin and Hamilton stations. Regular train service will resume on Sunday, August 11.

Update as of 06/12/19: SMART Announces Full Service to Downtown Novato Station 
Novato's Downtown SMART Station is expected to be completed by end of year 2019.


Construction Update 05/07/19

SMART has scheduled upcoming work to install conduits in the SMART right-of-way along Railroad Avenue--across from the Downtown SMART Station located at the east end of Grant Avenue. This work will be conducted overnight beginning on Sunday, May 12 and is expected to last three (3) weeks. The contractor will be working overnight during the week, Sunday through Thursday from approximately 10pm - 5am.


This work must be completed overnight so that SMART can continue to run trains on their regular schedule during the day. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we get this phase of the project built.


07/09/18 Update: Public Works staff will be presenting a funding strategy to complete Phase 2 of the Downtown SMART Station at the 7/10/18 City Council meeting. Full staff report can be viewed here.


12/05/17 Update: Work has begun on a multipurpose pathway from Franklin Avenue to Grant Avenue, next to Whole Foods. This pathway will run across what is known as the City's "Downtown Depot Lot" and alongside the Downtown SMART Station.
The Downtown SMART Station project continues to move forward, and is expected to be completed by early-2019.


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


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 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 began service in August 2017, and will determine the Novato Downtown Station schedule based on ridership demand.


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 >>


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


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.

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

Public Works Department

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