Saturday, October 22, 2016

“Quiet Zone” proposed to provide Cypress Park relief from tooting trains

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.”

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  1. Sounds like a way to get more luxury condos built by creating a quiet zone. Now if they’d just work on the emmissions from the Metrolink diesel rail yard at Taylor Yard…

  2. I have asked Councilmember Ed Reyes office for “quiet zones” for the last 8 years. I have given Sonia Jimenez a package of information on how to get them several times. Each time I was told “there is nothing we can do”. I explained there is something you can do but your not doing it.

    Most of the information provided in your article is directly taken from the package of information that I gave to Sonia Jimenez at least 4 different times. Now that Councilmember Ed Reyes is termed out of office he is looking to get credit for doing something at the last moment. And, also because of the hard work of Elysian Valley Residents that started a movement to stop the train horns and train pollution.

    So, even though no one listened to me and my pleas all these years, at least finally there is some action being taken because Elysian Valley residents spoke up. And, of course that is Councilmember Eric Garcetti’s district and not Councilmember Ed Reyes district.

  3. I had got Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council to approve a letter that went to Councilmember Ed Reyes office several years ago asking for “quiet zones”. Reyes office did nothing even though the neighborhood council sent the letter to him.

    And, it was not an easy task getting the neighbood council to approve the letter either. Each attempt was voted down, until finally Daniel wrote the letter and it was approved. And, it was only approved because Daniel had written the letter.

    It goes to show if the neighborhood does not support your efforts they will work to stop whatever effort you put forward, even when its in their best interest. And, Councilmember Ed Reyes office is no different. Because a different group puts “quiet zones” on their plate, it gets worked on. Because Councilmember Ed Reyes did not like my position on noisy church bells he refused to work on “quiet zones” . Politically correctness is at work here. It’s all politics.

  4. I lived for over 19 years at the RR crossing at North Main at the LA River.
    I know for a fact the engineers are aware their blasts can be heard.
    Some of them are bitter old men who blast away at Los Angeles to relieve their stresses, real or imagined.

    Sometimes the train is traveling backwards, the engineer doesn’t know exactly when the train will be in the crossing and toots away for safety’s sake. I didn’t have a problem with that.

    Sometimes the engineer was just switching tracks and was in front and gave a perfunctory toot tooot because he was required to. I loved those guys!

    Now, I have seen cars race around the crossing gates, sometimes just a couple feet from the moving train. Sometimes people cross the tracks because the damn gates are down and dingdingding-ing because the train is too close but not moving.

    IMHO if there are full gates preventing traffic from driving around them, four instead of two per crossing, there is no reason the engineers would have to give more than a toot or two at lower volume. There may be pedestrians, or even homeless in electric wheelchairs… yes, I’ve seen that.

    Now I live at the Brewery Arts Complex only two blocks farther away, and what a difference! Now it sounds soft and reminiscent.

    When Metrolink first started around 1991, their horns were Enormously Blasty!
    There were so many citizen complaints that within a couple months they learned to modulate their toots, soft or loud, short or long, and I could tell (twice) when something or someone was actually in their way by how they tooted.

    (btw, I think once upon a time, that the number and length of toots would mean, “I’m backing up”, “I’m going forward”, “I’m switching tracks” and now it’s just BLASTBLASTBLASTTT)

    SP comes across to me as arrogant and uncaring about the neighborhood they co-exist in. There are a few guys that get it, and I would wave to them, 40′ away out my window.

    Whatever you Cypress Park people are doing about this, don’t stop, don’t let up, not until you get them to understand that they need to use their horns for public safety _sometimes_ and sometimes it’s gratuitous and making SP look like b4st4rds.

  5. This will take decades.

  6. Kbreak. It is Union Pacific and Southern Pacific and Amtrak. Thank for your support. I appreciate it very much. I have fought hard and no one would listen. Elysian Valley’s took up the cause and someone listened.

    Yang, your wrong. The toots have no meaning and whatever meaning they had no longer needs to exist.

  7. Bum, it does not take decades. Quiet zones could have been done 12 years ago when Councilmember Ed Reyes first got in office. Orange County and Riverside County put in quiet zones years ago. We are way behind because Councilmember Ed Reyes office and staff member Sonia Jimenez refused to take on the issue even though I keep after them about it. Their only response was ” there is nothing we can do”. Well, of course not if you refuse to work on it. I guess they are too comfortable in their offices and do not want to do anything that requires some work.

  8. What is the status of this issue? I’m in Covina losing my hearing because of this honking!!

  9. The driver of the Metrolink at 4:45 a.m. that goes through Covina should be fired for blasting the horns through our quiet neighborhoods . HAVE SOME RESPECT WHEN YOU GO INTO RESIDENTIAL AREAS !! If it doesn’t stop that driver is going to have to answer to the formal complaints we are going to file with the City of Covina .

    • Hi Albert, I heard that same train I am in San Dimas. I was researching how to complain and saw your post. I will try to file a complaint too if there is any further action please let me know. Some drivers are so disrespectful they will sound their horn as loud as it can go from san dimas ave. for 3 blocks to cataract st.

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