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Penngrove Station by Lyndi Brown - December 2016


Penngrove Station  - December 2016

by Lyndi Brown

Christmas Cheer contributed by Lynn McDougal 

Hi Neighbors! I am a member of the Petaluma Coordinating Council. We are an all-volunteer organization that is responsible for the Petaluma Christmas Cheer program, begun in 1957. That’s 59 years ago! With your help, we provide boxes of food and bags of toys for underserved families in need in Petaluma / Penngrove and nearby rural areas. Last year we served 625 families, 1,128 children, 55 seniors and 94 bikes w/helmets. We are totally reliant on donations from you, the community. Please come by and check us out and support us in any way you can...even if it’s with just a smile and friendly Hello! Donations accepted starting November 28. Hours are 9 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday. We are accepting requests for receiving gifts and food and for volunteers. Bring donations of Toys, Food, and/or money. Toys should be new and unwrapped for boys and girls ages 0-12 years. (Please no weapon toys) Food should NOT be in glass bottles or jars. Please, no expired or past ‘use by’ dates. As far as money donations...they will be gratefully accepted in any form. Family Pick Up days begin Dec. 18.

WHERE: New location at the former Safeway space in Washington Square, at E. Washington and South McDowell Blvd., one block east of Hwy. 101. (Thank you, Fulcrum Properties!)

Holiday Workshops for Kids

Your child will enjoy holiday crafting at the Hello Penngrove shop, and you won’t have a mess to clean up at home! There’s Handprint Ornament (Dec. 4), Mason Jar Snow Globe (Dec. 11) or Graham Cracker Gingerbread House (Dec. 18). Workshops are from 11 am to 2 pm. Cost is $5. Children can decorate a Santa cookie Dec. 23 and 24 from 11 am – 4 pm at no charge. The shop is brimming with gifts, in The Grove, at 10101 Main St. Call and reserve a spot 707 665-5759.

Parking Lot News

Bill Fishman writes in: Penngrove Social Firemen signed off on allowing Martin Sessi to go forward with paving both property that he owns and property belonging to the Social Firemen, up to the main gate of Penngrove Park. Many concerns were settled during the discussions, including the containment and drainage of runoff during rains, the placement of customer parking spaces, and the location the of truck loading and unloading area serving the newly rebuilt store.

Train on Main  contributed by Burr Wilson 

SMART is ramping up the number of test trains along the rail corridor. Presently, test train speeds are limited to 30 mph between local grade crossings and 15 mph when crossing the roadway. That’s about to change in a big way, as SMART announced in October a test program with train speeds increasing in places to 79 mph. Sections of the track are now being tested for 45 mph operation, with flaggers temporarily positioned at grade crossings for an extra public safety (author works as a SMART flagger). The track through downtown Penngrove is designed for 45 mph, and may soon be tested for higher speeds, so residents and visitors here are urged to use extra caution around all grade crossings, especially on Main at Woodward and at Adobe Road.

Quiet Zone: You can’t miss hearing those train horns - louder, and now more frequent. Along with San Rafael and Novato, the cities of Petaluma and Rohnert Park have begun the process for a Quiet Zone (QZ) designation under the Federal Railroad Administration rulings. A QZ would permit SMART locomotive engineers to not blow the horn at grade crossings in these communities. Here, in the unincorporated area, a Quiet Zone designation must be initiated through the county Transportation and Publics Works (TPW) agency. Deputy Director Johannes Hoevertsz informs us that TPW has been working on QZ designation. Supervisor David Rabbitt, also a SMART board member, has proposed integrating all QZ designations for the county with the cities’ application before the FRA, to create a contiguous QZ along the entire rail corridor lying within his district. This could require 3 months or perhaps longer to put into effect. Petitions calling for the creation of a QZ have been circulated in the downtown business area and have been forwarded with signatures to David Rabbit’s office.

4-quad gates: Following last summer’s announcement that TPW and SMART would upgrade the railroad grade crossing on Main Street with 4-quadrant gates, lights and bells, a design has been completed and is ready for deployment by SMART. Johannes says, “(TPW) and SMART are partnering to deliver this important project. SMART will perform the installation and the department will fund the project. An item is scheduled on the Board of Supervisors Agenda for November 15th to request approval to reimburse SMART for the work. There is an item on the county supervisor’s board Nov 15 agenda to fund those extra safety measures”. Hopefully, by the time this article goes to print, this long-awaited project will have been approved and signal work will be underway in the railroad’s right-of-way.

“Queue-cutter” traffic signals for Main at Woodward: TPW informs us that a traffic signal system design for introduction of queue-cutter traffic lights on Main Street around the railroad crossing has been completed and this project is ready to be delivered. “Queue cutters” are different from standard intersection traffic lights, being used to gate traffic through a railroad crossing zone while discouraging autos from stopping in a line on a railroad track in congested traffic situations. An approaching train will pre-empt the queue cutter traffic signals to immediately display stop lights to any cars nearing the tracks while giving a green light to autos in the crossing zone to exit from the crossing. The project may break ground this month.

All are welcome to contribute! Send your news and thoughts during the first week of each month to include in next month’s column.