Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

March 29, 2013

Time to explore a ‘quiet zone’

(Continued)

IF LOCOMOTIVE conductors adhere to the letter of the law regarding the Federal Railroad Administration’s “Train Horn Rule,” they are blaring their horn three times as they approach and proceed through each crossing. Each horn blast is at least 110 decibels. So, from the time a train takes the curve at Lincoln Avenue and then finally rolls past College Avenue, the engineer could sound their horn as many as 36 times. Add the fact that trains are creeping through town at between 5 and 10 miles per hour and we can understand how it may seem like the horn blowing will never stop.

The challenge in creating a quiet zone is convenience and cost. Equipping each crossing of the Marion Line with appropriate gates to facilitate a quiet zone will be expensive. Also, trains move so slowly on the line that vehicles can keep crossing the tracks even when the train is very close. Perhaps we should consider if each of these 12 crossing are necessary, especially if the U.S. 33 North Connector route/overpass becomes a reality.

FOR INSTANCE, do we really need minor crossings at New York Street, Burdick Street, Jackson Street, Jefferson Street and Washington Street? If those crossings were eliminated that would be 15 fewer train horn honks. Throw the Reynolds and Douglas street crossings into that mix and we’re up to 21 fewer horn blasts. It may also reduce the cost of crossing gate upgrades, although there would be costs associated with closing those crossings.

We’re just thinking out loud here. That may not be feasible, but it’s worth thinking about. We look forward to hearing the recommendations from the folks at Structurepoint Inc. We believe a quiet zone along the Marion Line, as long as the safety of residents isn’t compromised, will benefit Goshen’s quality of life.

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Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

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