TRAIN NOISE UPDATE by Rick Jacobi
The City has been unable to get grants to help defray the cost of quieting train intersections, and currently is not expecting to apply for more grants.
The majority of City Council members sound committed to working on this with City dollars, however. In next year’s budget there will probably be funding for making railroad crossings “quiet-zone compliant” at:
- 1stand Emery
- 3rdand Atwood
- Main Street
- and possibly Coffman Street.
After that, the plan (with no commitment) is to build this zone northward with additional crossing improvements each year. Crossing improvements cost about $500,000 or more per intersection.
Crossing improvements have to be made for every intersection for at least ½ mile of track before a quiet zone can be made, so improvements have more immediate effect if they are done in a contiguous stretch of rail.
The City is still considering simply closing some quieter streets (i.e., 4th or 5th or 6th and Atwood) rather than putting improved crossings in everywhere, because it is cheaper/will allow the quiet zone to expand faster.
Closing streets are less costly, at about $90,000, but it also requires blocking pedestrian crossings with fencing, and potentially lengthens emergency response times (and time for all of us to drive around the neighborhood). The pedestrian crossings at these intersections would go.
As individuals and as a neighborhood, I encourage residents to:
1) Tell City Council we want crossing improvements in next year’s budget.
2) Encourage them to fully fund all crossing improvements as rapidly as possible. This will not only bring us peace and quiet sooner, but future Councils aren’t required to expand quiet zones into our neighborhood, and may drop this program.
3) Consider the pros and cons of closing streets to get this done more quickly, for our neighborhood.
This is one of several topics we will discuss at our neighborhood picnic, Sat, Aug 25 12-2. Collyer Park, S Shelter. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Rick Jacobi, HENA Leadership Team