Quiet zone proposal quashed

Huron city council collectively derailed a proposal calling to quiet trains chugging through the downtown area.
Andy Ouriel
Mar 12, 2014
Council members recently voted 6-1 against spending about $16,000 in local taxpayer funds so an outside consultant could complete two tasks:

•Begin establishing quiet zones where trains speed by, eliminating noisy horns blaring in business districts and neighborhoods.

•Make areas safer where trains rumble over streets.

Six elected officials trumped councilman Brad Hartung’s lone supporting vote for a study.

Six dissenting votes largely occurred because a preliminary plan for safety upgrades would’ve been tied to future costs, Huron city manager Andy White said.

"They would’ve delivered us a road map for more expenditures,” White said. “Some improvements at just one intersection totaled $500,000. We don’t have the capacity internally to do this with all the other work going on in our city”

Funding could’ve helped quiet down trains in five areas, including where trains cross Berlin, River and Rye Beach roads along with Main and Williams streets.

Before implementing a quiet zone, certain safety upgrades must occur at specific intersections.

Among the problems existing in some areas: crossing gates don’t extend the entire roadway’s width.

“I just felt it was something that we needed to look at” Hartung said.

Comments

Tsu Dho Nimh

But we have money for round abouts and want to narrow Cleveland Rd East down to two lanes to incorporate bike lanes. Way to go.

Informed

Exactly!! My problem with the train horns blaring all night long is not that they make noise. It's that they lay on them for long periods of time over and over again. There is no reason for them to do that. We can't even open our bedroom windows at night because they are so loud. There is no reason that during the late night/early morning hours they couldn't limit the horn to a couple short bursts.

worddrow811

I want to know how they plan to spend all of their proposed 9 million dollars to do things that they want and not do this small thing?

to city council: YOU REALLY NEED TO START ASKING THE RESIDENTS WHAT WE NEED TO HAVE DONE AND STOP ALL THIS SHOWBOATING WITH OUR MONEY.

I know you are residents too, but your job description does not say that it's your way or the highway for the rest of us.

You can start by having people sign up for e-mail to receive the lastest business plans because you know that everybody does not read their news in the local paper. You have a loophole that needs to be closed in this, the 21st century, because you are meeting the definition in the city code. Write a new law that corrects that issue.

Restless1

I didn't read a darn thing about this in the e-mail I receive concerning council meetings. Sounds like a page from the major networks not reporting on issues not favorable to their political slant.

worddrow811

Their style is if they don't ask, we don't tell. They need to be transparent in every piece of information. If one has nothing to hide, hide nothing.

eyekerry1

My question is, why do the trains have to blow their horns where it's not necessary? I live across from the trestle that spans Sandusky Bay near the Edison bridge. There are no crossings in the water, no traffic what so ever. So why at 2 or 3 in the morning do they have to blow their horns? These aren't just little honks, they sometimes keep blowing until they finish crossing the trestle. I think they do it just because it's fun for them.

From the Grave

I hear them doing that too, when they train is moving very slowly. Years ago they would blow as they drove by the driving range by the airport~just for fun. Yeah, so...

macd72

They are required to blow at drawbridges. Just because you don't know why they are doing something, doesn't mean they are doing something wrong.

Darwin's choice

He can't hear the trains from his castle....

mcddcm

That is an assumption. macd72 is 100% correct about the rule.

From the Grave

I think they said no to the study, if I read that correctly. Maybe because they know they don't want to spend the money later, why waste it on a study. I think they know that it needs to be done. That's how I read it, anyway. I know it needs to be done!

Capt. Ford

Used to date in Huron for 10 years, miss those 2am whistles.

downthemiddle

Sometimes it sounds like the trains are making love the way they honk back and forth....

Darwin's choice

After thinking about this, the money that would be spent for the study would be wasted, only because the moron manager didn't think of making Huron a quiet zone! What a great long term investment for the citizens, and would be much more desired than bike lanes, roundabouts, and walkways covered with gooseshit. Look no farther than Vermillion to see the impact of no train whistles! Andy want to make Huron his metropolis, what better way than to silence the trains!

Every new car sold now touts the silence inside them when the windows are rolled up, remember the guy running the jackhammer right next to the car, and when the windows are rolled up, its silent! That being said, train whistles have gone the way of rotary phones! They were to warn pedestrians, and then autos, of their coming. They are now a nuisance.

JudgeMeNot

My question is, why do people who hate train horns live near the tracks?

Informed

I don't hate train horns. I hate the way they are used, or should I say abused, during late night/early morning hours, especially when there are already lights and gates at the crossings.

macd72

The trains are required by the railroads and by law to blow the horns at grade crossings (roads), regardless of time, volume of traffic, gates, etc, unless a properly established quiet zone is established. Other events requiring horn use are warning trespassers, railway workers, etc. These are massive pieces of equipment, incapabable of stopping quickly, whose only real method of avoiding killing people in their right of way is to audibly warn them to get out of the way. If you had even the slightest idea how many close calls are averted by those "annoying' horns, you'd never complain about them again.

Informed

You obviously haven't heard them. They don't just blow the horns. They lay on them for up to 10 seconds at a time over and over again when there is no traffic.
And yes, exactly why a quiet zone needs to be established in Huron. That's what we are saying. They won't pay to do that, but they'll pay to put in a roundabout that is absolutely unnecessary.

mcddcm

macd72 is exactly right. The locomotive engineers are not playing with the horns, laying on the horns for no reason, trying to wake you up, etc. They are highly trained in safety, and they are doing their jobs. Just because there is "no traffic" around does NOT mean that they don't need to blow their horns. Please educate yourself on why these people are blowing their horns. Spend some time "in their shoes" and you will see how tramatic it is when someone gets into the path of their train and gets hit.
If you don't like it, move or work on getting a quiet zone. The railroad was there long before your house was.

Darwin's choice

So, how long you been working on the railroad?

mcddcm

Your assumption was incorrect. I have never worked for the railroad, nor does anyone in my family. I am just an educated person that takes the time to learn the facts about many issues.

Darwin's choice

Fact is, the train whistles aren't needed as much as they used to be!
Technology has proven that when they're not used, as in quiet zones, there is no significant increase in accidents/deaths.
The railroads themselves have been aware of the advances in "quiet technology" the auto industry brags about, proof of this is the use of the strobe/flashing lights the engines have now, because cars can't hear the horns, but will see the lights.
I'm not arguing the need for the horns, I'm saying there are alternatives, that will be both safety conscious, and keep residents happy.

mcddcm

Funny. Very funny. "Aren't needed as much as they used to be". I really like the "as much" part. They are still needed. Just because it annoys you, doesn't mean that it is not needed. I'd like to see the source for your "Fact". Bottom line is until you have a properly-equipped quiet zone, the horns will continue, because they are necessary, whether you like it or not. If someone was killed at a crossing and the train did not sound the horn, some of the same people that complain about the noise would now bring a lawsuit against the railroad. Do some research - here's a start:http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/deta...

Darwin's choice

Cherry picking to vindicate your infatuation with train horns? Do you deny that cars are just about silenced, interior sound level wise? With you idiot logic, they should make the horns louder!
Make Huron a quiet zone! The money would be well spent!

mcddcm

I am providing facts. Please provide something to attempt to validate your opinions.

Nemesis

mcdcm, while you are correct about regulations and the need for safety, you're not paying attention to the conversation.
People are saying they want a properly configured quiet zone - EXACTLY as you recommended. The dominant theme here is that Huron won't spend the money to set up a quiet zone because the city mandarins would rather spend it on pointless roundabouts and undoing their last ill-considered spasm of road reconfiguration (main street.) That, and glossy self-aggrandizing propoganda pieces that are effectively campaign literature for their own re-elections. Of course, they get away with it because most voters just keep reflexively re-electing the same people on the basis of name recognition.

There are some other fallacies in your comments - regulations aside, there is a wide variation in the length of the horn blasts given, and some operators do lay on the horn far longer than is mandated or necessary.

Things have changed since these regulations were written, and it's well established that, when it comes to re-evaluating and adjusting regulations, government has every bit as much inertia as a fully loaded train. It took a lot of agitation to enact exceptions for quiet zones, and if, as you insinuate in challenging Darwin's assertions, there had been any significant increase in accidents attibutable to quiet zones, the feds would have clamped down like an alligator, because, while they are glacial to roll back regulation, they are always waiting for an opportunity to impose it.

Finally, as to the neccessity of the horns and propriety of the regulations requiring them, by your own admission you have no direct knowledge, and are just parroting what you've been told by the claimed experts. Times have changed - cars are soundproof, and all the pedestrian railroad casualties in this area have been suicides. If anything, the horns just help a suicidal person to time their moves. Anyone who's stood by a crossing as a train goes by knows you can hear the train, and even a deaf person can feel its approach, before they sound the horn. It's high time to re-evaluate whether measures conceived in the 1800's are still the best way to achieve safety. After all, if the railroads were so all-fired responsive to historical change as you seem to believe, these days you'd be flying to Florida on 777's owned by Chessie and B&O, rather than most railroads teetering on the edge of insolvency despite massive government subsidies. It may well be time for the horns to go the way of cowcatchers.

Darwin's choice

mcddcm, You have provided no "facts", again picking only the opinions you wish to argue, and in true azzhat fashion, completely ignore the rest of my statement! If you aren't andy white, you must be one of his butt-kissing underlings, being "educated" and all, and obviously against the making of a quiet zone. "Opinions" are just that, no "facts" are needed to have one.

mcddcm

You have not provided any facts why horns are not needed, just opinion. I provided the FACTS on a way for you to get the horns silenced. You can work with Huron to get a quiet zone, if that is what you want. When you are doing that research on horn-blowing, make sure to get several legitimate sources, not just one. Do you think a business as strong as a railroad like NS blows horns at crosssings for no reason? I am not doing this for you or anyone on here, rather only correcting false statements about a properly run businesss and asking you to do research!

Name-calling that you resorted to is completely unnessary. Please channel your "efforts" into some good research.

Nemesis

You've provided no facts on why they are needed, just government edicts, and again, those with whom you're contending ARE advocating for a quiet zone. Your admonition to do so demonstrates that you're position is not based on any facts regarding the need for horns, but rather a toadish faith that anything the government says MUST be true, otherwise you would question the allowance of quiet zones. In your world, horns are utterly necessary EXCEPT where the government decrees they aren't.

mcddcm

Many here have said that horns aree not needed, but not one has provided any information, even after I asked them. They started the discussion with opinions, so they need to do the work to attempt to back those opinions up with good data. I did not make the original statements, and I have read good, reliable data that shows they are still necessary. I am not going to do the work for you, but am still waiting for these people to support their original statements.

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