Preventing SMART train pedestrian deaths in the North Bay

Bay Area

ROHNERT PARK (KRON) – Suicide by train is an issue we have all become familiar with, especially along the Peninsula in recent years.

Now a similar problem cropping up for the SMART Train in the North Bay along the Sonoma Marin Rail Route.  

Since June 5 people have been hit by SMART trains along the Sonoma Marin Rail Corridor several at the Golf Course Drive crossing in Rohnert Park. 

Officials say none have been the result of train operator error, instead, they were a result of people not paying attention or suicide.

“This is not a train crisis, this is a mental health and a public health crisis that we’re dealing with,” SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian said.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the SMART Board of Directors, the general manager announced the creation of a task force that will bring together more than 30 suicide prevention, law enforcement, and county mental health agencies to determine what can be done to deal with the issue.

“We need to get the professionals involved. When somebody decides to jump out of a bush in front of a train, it’s too late. We’ve got to figure out how to prevent them before they get to that point,” Mansourian said.

For those simply not paying attention, SMART is in the process of installing 17 of Z gates, with another 13 on the way. 

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