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Old 10-12-2012, 12:31 PM
 
28 posts, read 33,291 times
Reputation: 20

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I live in Old Town Alexandria, and the recent problem of train horns has reared its ugly head in the last few nights and will continue on through November. During track maintenance, trains are required to slow to a crawl and to sound their horn repeatedly as they pass through the area to keep the workers on the tracks alert. While this sort of action is exempt from FRA Quiet Zone rules, it has only served to remind the residents of Old Town of a problem which has not been addressed since Alexandria City went from an industrial train yard wasteland in many parts to an upscale town full of residents, workers and shoppers: The town is STILL not designated a "Quiet Zone".

A FRA defined Quiet Zone is an area which has met the appropriate safety requirements and passed the legislation to get Train Horn Whistles/Horns to a more tolerable level. These requirements usually involve taking safety measures around at-grade road interchanges, of which Alexandria City has none (tracks pass under bridges). Currently, Alexandria is designated a "Safety Zone" due to the presence of Union Station (ALX) near King Street. Safety Zone's mean more whistles, slower speeds and more noise.

I took this video outside of my balcony a few nights ago. It shows what a passing train has the potential to sound like. This is an extreme example, because this is during track maintenance, but the overall volume and pitch of the whistles are accurate. These noises are experienced by those living near the tracks 50-75 times a day, with no regard to night/day.

http://youtu.be/B7OixqGox9M
The train really starts to get loud around the 38 second mark.

In the last decade since Quiet Zones have been available options for communities, hundreds, if not thousands around the US have decided to go this route. Typically the largest obstacle to doing so involves implementing additional safety measures at at-grade interchanges, which Alexandria City already has none of.

I am interested in getting the opinions of other Alexandria residents and then perhaps bringing this up to city council. If you'd like some light reading on the subject, please see below:

http://www.quietzonesd.info/]San Diego Quiet Zone Project = Safety & Better Quality of Life - This link documents San Diego's push to redesignate their historic downtown which has changed quite a bit from when it was an industrial hub. Spoiler alert.. they won!

http://www.quietzonesd.info/qzusa/index.html - Want a Quiet Zone in your town?
http://www.fra.dot.gov/rrs/pages/fp_1475.shtml - FRA Guidelines about Quiet Zones
http://www.fra.dot.gov/downloads/saf...eport61609.pdf - Every Quiet Zone designated by the FRA - Could be source of precedents
http://www.quietzonesd.info/quiet-zone-websites.html - Quiet Zones websites across America

If you are an Alexandria resident, please sound off in this thread. Let's get some brainstorming together and see if we can affect change. I think the only reason Alexandria still isn't a Quiet Zone is because no one has bothered to make enough noise on the issue !

Last edited by AlexandriaLightHouse; 10-12-2012 at 01:08 PM.. Reason: Tried to fix links again
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:35 PM
 
28 posts, read 33,291 times
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tried fixing the links, don't know what the problem is...
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:05 PM
 
7,968 posts, read 18,076,790 times
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Sorry, I couldn't fix it either. I'd suggest everyone copy and paste as needed.
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:06 PM
 
28 posts, read 33,291 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone509 View Post
Sorry, I couldn't fix it either. I'd suggest everyone copy and paste as needed.
I removed the added-in formatting and everything, and then it just readded it.. can we leave it as-is for now and I can try later?
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:09 PM
 
518 posts, read 784,332 times
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One big problem with your plan is that the railroad you speak of is the only North/South connection on the East Coast. That combined with all of the issues that railroads have had recently in regards to safety and accidents leads me to believe that your attempt to get Old Town designated a Quiet Zone will hit a number of road blocks. I also feel that people who live near railroad tracks have to deal with certain things and one of those things is train noise. I live about half a mile from the railroad tracks as they go through Woodbridge and have gotten used to it.
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:23 PM
 
1,328 posts, read 2,697,129 times
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Not to be a downer (I have been hearing it where I live as well) but was the train track there when you bought your house?

And what about other parts of town the track repair is going on? Springfield has to have noise but Old Town doesn't?

Admitting to boredom at work today..not meaning to blast your point..but this too shall pass, OK many times a day, and loudly, but it will end.

Last edited by slduvall; 10-12-2012 at 01:24 PM.. Reason: sp
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:25 PM
 
28 posts, read 33,291 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roninsedge View Post
One big problem with your plan is that the railroad you speak of is the only North/South connection on the East Coast. That combined with all of the issues that railroads have had recently in regards to safety and accidents leads me to believe that your attempt to get Old Town designated a Quiet Zone will hit a number of road blocks. I also feel that people who live near railroad tracks have to deal with certain things and one of those things is train noise. I live about half a mile from the railroad tracks as they go through Woodbridge and have gotten used to it.
I didn't consider the major artery aspect, but I'll have to look through the other Quiet Zones to see if they lay on any similar railroads. A Half Mile is a fairly large radius when it comes to population dense cities such as Alexandria. You could probably draw a half mile circle around any point on the Rail line running through and 50-60K people would be within that small radius. I cited San Diego earlier because it is a major port, along with being very dense in the downtown sections, and they achieved the same thing years ago. Thank you for the response, these are exactly the sort of opinions I'm looking for, ones I haven't had a chance to think about yet!
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:28 PM
 
28 posts, read 33,291 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slduvall View Post
Not to be a downer (I have been hearing it where I live as well) but was the train track there when you bought your house?

And what about other parts of town the track repair is going on? Springfield has to have noise but Old Town doesn't?

Admitting to boredom at work today..not meaning to blast your point..but this too shall pass, OK many times a day, and loudly, but it will end.
The tracks were there, but that doesn't mean something can't be done. The tracks were there before the city was a city, the circumstances have changed. Additionally, nothing is stopping Springfield from attempting something like this themselves. A Quiet Zone Initiative can be undertaken by any community, but things never get done unless someone at least brings it up.
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,077,317 times
Reputation: 6825
This sounds like people who buy homes in airport flight paths and then complain. I'm curious what you would expect the railroads to do. Unless you bought your house before the railroad came through I have zero sympathy. May I suggest ear plugs?
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:39 PM
 
28 posts, read 33,291 times
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I expect them not to blow their whistles in a quiet zone, as they do in hundreds of other municipalities that took the effort to get their area designated one. The first step is getting the city to lobby for this, and I doubt there will be any significant local opposition to such a initiative.

I also expect to have to deal with irrelevant trolls such as yourself who aren't affected by it and are not personally invested. Thank you for your constructive comments...
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