According to some neighbors, the train that was supposed to weave the north bay together has instead chopped a community in two.
Instead of a quick jaunt across the tracks, those on foot must walk nearly a mile via Guerneville Road to cross. As a few locals doggedly push the issue with regulators, light may be forming at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Santa Rosa's public works director Jason Nutt said the city is ready to move ahead.
"Based on the design work we've done to date, and the concurrence from the Public Utilities Commission and their safety enforcement division that the design we've presented and proposed is safe. We believe that it meets all of the state and federal requirements for a safe crossing."
But, Nutt says, the city needs approval from SMART.
"They don't believe a safe at-grade crossing can be constructed, even though the Public Utilities Commission, the full commission, the administrative law judge, and the safety enforcement division have all indicated that the city has presented and prepared a fully compliant and excessively compliant safe crossing design."
Santa Rosa's design includes extra fencing to prevent people from going around or under crossing arms. Sidewalks would also aligned like the letter zee, meaning any approaching rail car would be in a pedestrian's immediate field of vision.
A SMART attorney said Monday she was not up to speed on the issue, then failed to return follow up calls. Right now, the plan is stalled.
"At this point in time smart has indicated to the city that they do not intend to approve of the construction at this time"
Nutt said the disagreement, which has been on-going for nine years, was assigned to an administrative law judge in recent weeks and a hearing, and possible resolution could come later this month.