San Rafael, CA drivers grapple with SMART complications

The crawl through downtown San Rafael traffic has become even more mind-numbing at times, some drivers say, with the arrival of the SMART train’s extension to Larkspur.

The railroad began testing its 2.2-mile extension between downtown San Rafael and Larkspur during daytime hours on Nov. 17, running trains without passengers along that southernmost stretch of track. When the testing began, there was a noticeable increase in congestion, some drivers said.

“It’s just brutal,” said Daniel Stevens, who lives and works in San Rafael. “It puts us at a standstill.”

Though testing is set to wrap up next month, the traffic interruptions caused by trains running through San Rafael’s downtown aren’t going anywhere, city officials said, with passenger service to Larkspur expected to begin at the end of the testing period.