The Eastsider loves the sound of distant train horns. But for many residents of Cypress Park who live near busy railroad tracks, the numerous daily blasts of high-frequency train horns and clanging of warning bells are not welcome sounds. There might some noise relief in the works, however. Councilman Ed Reyes has introduced a City Council motion to study the creation of a “Quiet Zone” to reduce the sounds of blaring train horns and warning bells near the site of the former Taylor Yards in Cypress Park. The zone would cut down on all that honking but it would require federal review and the installation of new safety measures – including warning signs and quad crossing gates - at crossings.
Many residents who live near the former Taylor Yards, a former freight yard converted into a state park, have complained about the noise as well as health risk posed by passing trains and the Metrolink maintenance facility in Cypress Park. The Reyes motion provides some background on the noise issue:
There are ongoing noise issues in the Taylor Yard area related to railroad-related noise from Metrolink, Amtrak, and freight trains. Local residents have long complained that the noise from these horns and bells echoes through the surrounding communities. Although Metrolink has implemented train horn and bell ringing reductions, the problem still exists.
Federal safety regulations require that train engineers blast their horns at least 15 to 20 seconds before arriving at a street or highway crossing. The “Quiet Zone” seeks to balance the need for safety while proving nearby residents some relief from noise. Late last year, Councilman Jose Huizar also asked for the establishment of a Quiet Zone to reduce noise in El Sereno.
But the establishment of a railroad Quiet Zone can be a lengthy and costly process that must be approved by federal regulators. Reyes’ motion, which must still be approved by the full City Council, asks that the city’s Department of Transportation to look into applying for a federal railroad Quiet Zone as well as studying the feasibility of other measures “that could also decrease train-related noise.”