The Smart Train Is Not As Smart As Our Roomba!!

We had our first encounter with The Smart Train intersection control lights in December 2012–See the Press Democrat Article–Railroad crossing arms close on Petaluma couple’s car at green light

We were assured that they were aware of the situation and it would be fixed.

But then in September 2016 we encountered another intersection light control issue at a different location in Petaluma and discussed it in two blog posts…

TODAY at 3:25 PM we were returning home from Point Reyes and found ourselves again at the intersection of D and Lakeville–THE SCENE OF THE FIRST SMART ATTACK ON US in December 2012 (see above)


  1. The Smart Train pulled up and stopped by the train depot by the Petaluma Arts Center.
  2. The traffic lights were working normally controlling the heavy traffic.
  3. My wife was driving.
  4. Fortunately there was plenty of sunlight so I could see the train and keep my eye on it–unlike in December 2012.
  5. We were first in line and the traffic light turned green and my wife started forward and I yelled at her to stop as I could see the train starting to move and then the gates started to come down. Fortunately we able to stop before getting hit–Unlike in December 2012
  6. I was able to capture a photo as the light changed to yellow and the gates were already down or coming down…

D St & Lakeville Petaluma CA

SMART does not seem to understand that drivers are focused on their control lights.  Traffic lights should be red long before the crossing gate arms are activated!

  • SMART seems unable to get it right and safe. If SMART cannot program the crossings to operate correctly and  safely, then they should not be running the trains.
  • Perhaps they would like to practice with our Roomba before running any more trains!

UPDATE April 29, 2017

I sent this  article to every agency and elected official I could think of plus the two papers. 

I clearly expect no answers or actions—Past promises have been repeatedly made and nothing changes.  Whatever they say now I will not believe.

SMART is beyond shame or even ridicule…

UPDATE May 4, 2017

Received the following E-Mail from SMART at 8:27 am…

“Thanks for the link. I have forwarded it to our ops team.


Matt Stevens | Community Outreach & Education

Direct: 707.794.3074| Mobile: 707.328.3046

SMART | Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit

5401 Old Redwood Hwy., Suite 200, Petaluma, CA  94954″



4 thoughts on “The Smart Train Is Not As Smart As Our Roomba!!

  1. Coordinating trains, traffic lights and gates should not be rocket science since the combination has been around for longer than you and I. I bet the book has been written on this, but the SMART exec people need to care enough to read it and take corrective action.

    • Yes indeed, the book of rules and regulations has been written LOOOONG Ago, But as you know, incompetence always wins out. If you think about it, most accidents and disasters are the result of people not following the rules…such as the speed of the ship in iceberg fields. 😦


    “Omg Frank!!! Unbelievable
    Thank you again for the heads up!”

    “Clearly there is a glitch that SMART just cannot fix–WT…!”

    “Glad the two of you managed not to get hit this time.”

    “I also have witnessed weird stuff with that East D and Lakeville crossing arm.”

    “Denver recently opened a rail line to the airport. It had similar problem requiring them to post crossing guards at every rail crossing. They have it working but it took a serious accident to get action.”

  3. Details, details, details — what will it take to for someone to really study this problem?!

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