In august the City of Bloomington’s Public Works Department will sit down with a number of transportation organizations to discuss the possibility of a quiet zone. If the talks go well, the zone could be established by mid-December
In 2005 The Federal Rail Administration made a rule forcing trains to blow their horn 15-20 seconds before reaching the railroad crossing for safety. Since then they have allowed neighborhoods to apply to become a quiet zone, which would effectively limit the amount of times a train is allowed to blow its horn in that neighborhood.
“The quiet zones, in essence, don’t completely take away the train horns they modify it,” said Jim Karch, Bloomington Director of Public Works. They make it so there are less times whenever they do the train horns.”
Citizens of Bloomington have been spilt on this issue. Those who live near the railroad crossing are in favor of the quiet zone because according to Karch, they say the noise is unbearable. Those who do not live near the crossings find the idea of not having frequent train sirens un-safe.
“People don’t really pay attention to the signals, the lights and the bars that block the sidewalks,” said Domonique Lucas, Bloomington Resident. “If they have a horn to warn them maybe they will look around and be more careful.”
But Karch says questions of safety have been accounted for when figuring out how to establish the zone. He says there are new barriers that will make passing or sneaking through a train crossing impossible.
“It (railroad crossing) has crossing protection for pedestrians and also dual gates on each side to keep cars from going around them,” said Karch. “You cant go around them and that provides for a safer crossing and allows for that horn, that is there to protect people, to be reduced.”
For more information on the proposed quiet zone visit www.cityblm.org/quietzone.