Citizens power activate! Shape of a Quiet Zone!

As recommended by the Federal Railroad Administration, we have been tracking down local contacts for Quiet Zones.

Yesterday, we spoke with the man who helped establish the QZ for Olmos Park. Some things we learned:

  1. QZ took 3 years to establish.
  2. Traffic Study by the city was $70,000 - they raised half through donations
  3. Security Measures vary from a $400K Quad Crossing Gate down to a small concrete channelization median, 60-80ft, for $10-15K.
  4. A QZ map doesn’t exist online. Signs posted for “No Train Horns” could be looked for.
  5. Railroads never disclose freight train schedules for security. They talk in trains per day at a crossing.
  6. The best city contact is the Transportation & Capital Improvements - Street & Traffic Division

After researching names and email addresses, we made contact with Amer Gilani, a senior engineer.

A Quiet Zone for our area has been attempted.The main issues are south of us at the Hoefgen crossings north of Essex and north of W Boyer (View Google Maps).

One crossing only has warning lights, not gates, so their current solution is to close the street. Since this is an industrial area those businesses have been vocally opposing the change and effectively blocked the Quiet Zone.

Changing tact, the Street & Traffic Division are taking a safety angle. There are more accidents at that intersection so it should be closed. This includes the newsworthy one just weeks ago (May 3, 2014) where “Train slams into quinceañera-bound limo”. The city agreed so closing that street now goes back up for review.

When asked what needs to be done to help establish this QZ? Doesn’t it need funding? No, they have money. They need community support. People need to attend the meetings to show that they support the closing. If the street is closed, a QZ could be activated in 6-12 months!

(If this fails, money will come up because the least impacting solution is adding a quad gate at the crossing for $400,000+.)