Noise and Light control needed at Hulsey Yards.
This is the annual update (12-2015) to your petition requesting modification to the operations at CSX Hulsey Yards.
As a resident or business located in Cabbagetown, Reynoldstown, or Inman Park Neighborhoods, we are certain that you are aware whenever there are changes and amplifications of disturbance originating from the CSX Hulsey Loading Yards.
Through this formal petition, we hope to offer viable options to mitigate these issues amicably and that you will join us by signing this petition and personally contacting your local representative and the CSX representatives using the talking points and data herein.
This petition seeks to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and your participation will encourage positive change in our community.
Since mid-2008, local residents have been contacting CSX and our local representatives to address the following three (3) impacts that have dramatically reduced quality of life in the area:
1. The "new" lighting at the yards is angled in such a way that it does not provide 100% cutoff from adjoining properties. The light pollution spills far away from the actual loading yard, casting shadows within homes and on the properties of all adjoining homeowners, renters, and businesses.
2. Train horns have become more frequent and more intense over the past years. In review of the horn sounding rule (http://fra.dot.gov) we have found that this procedure can be modified for private, loading yard activities and reduce disturbances.
3. Impact noise: Partially mitigated in 2012 when CSX removed several speed bumps that caused extremely loud disturbances by trucks entering and leaving the yards. See note below.
(NOTE: This petition originally addressed trucks leaving the yard, fully geared up, with little regard for the speed bumps located at the exit areas. Basically, when the final axle of the trailer cleared the bump, the cargo container and trailer would "jump" from the impact and would result in a jarring "boom" that echoed through our neighborhoods. CSX THANKFULLY removed many of these speed-bumps and it has helped. THANK YOU! See Blog update also.)
MAIN PETITION TEXT THAT YOU ARE SIGNING:
As residents and business operators occupying properties immediately adjacent to CSX, we are all highly motivated and understanding individuals, who are interested in working with CSX and local authorities to resolve these issues. These are important issues which directly impact our health and welfare and the ability to conduct business (consider conference calls or meetings adjacent to this disturbance). Disrupted sleep patterns, excessive artificial lighting, and abrupt noises are proven to undermine the health and quality of life in individuals experiencing such conditions for prolonged periods of time and validate the urgency and legitimacy of these requests.
Additionally, the Atlanta City Council Noise Ordinance (see Article 4 in the links section) specifically addresses the right of all citizens to "PEACEFUL AND QUIET ENJOYMENT" of their homes and properties. In depth research of this issue, and direct concern over the health of this community, has resulted in the following three (3) requests which address the three issues outlined above.
1. CSX to remove, redirect, or replace the newly (2008+/-) installed lighting to prevent light trespass onto adjacent properties and to meet all local ordinances related to light trespass from the property. Additional guides that may be helpful can be found in the links section under Article 5.
2. An immediate modification of policies at Hulsey Yards which apply the Federal Railroad Administration policy [49 CFR Parts 222 and 229 (Docket No. FRA 1999-6439, Notice No. 17)] to internal, private operations of train arrivals and departures. We are not seeking a modification of the FRA rule. We only seek modification of this internal policy to include flagmen and perimeter tree plantings as a replacement for the horn procedures (a solution outlined in Article 1 as precedent). A no-horn zone is requested.
3. Strict enforcement of speed rules, especially during night-time hours, or the removal / redesign of the speed-bump at the truck entry/exit from the yard. (PARTIALLY DONE!)
CSX has worked openly with their neighbors to resolve these types of issues in the past. One of the examples was at the New England Automotive Gateway in South Spencer, Worcester, MA, in December of 2007. In this situation, CSX resolved the conflict with residents to replace the FRA horn blowing procedure. According to the press release, (Article 1 in the links section-updated 2013), CSX quelled the noise issues as follows: "...flagmen are being used instead of loud whistles, and a sound barrier of trees, donated by CSX Transportation, has been planted." This seems to be the most amenable and easily administered solution to the horn disturbance.
When asked about environmental concerns and adjacent land owner impacts, CSX (via Dan Murphy, Director of Public Operations at CSX) stated online:
"CSX is committed to being a good neighbor. CSX and the City of Winter Haven will work closely on developing standards that reduce public impacts, including the use of the latest lighting technology." "CSX has a history of working with surrounding neighbors to minimize noise issues. An independent noise analysis has been performed to get an idea as to the projected increases above current background levels. Creating appropriate buffers and supporting whistle free quiet zones are some of the things that CSX has implemented in other communities." (See Article 2 in the links section)
We firmly believe these sentiments and hope that this letter helps to increase positive action and dialogue in our community as well.
Overall, CSX has responded to our initial complaints with calls and letters with a company-wide response that places most of the blame on the FRA ruling and overlooks the specific details we've included in all of our requests.
Hopefully, with the precedents referenced herein and our investigations into the rule, it is clear that we can all work together to resolve these disturbances.
With sincere thanks and optimism, we, the undersigned, submit this formal request and list of recommendations to the city and representatives of CSX to improve our quality of life within the City of Atlanta.
This petition was sent to Atlanta City Council representatives and our new Mayor Kasim Reed on January 04, 2010. Only one response from Representative Willis' office was received. No other correspondence, thereafter.
This petition (with an additional 57 signatures) was sent, again, on May 19, 2010, to these same individuals.
Recipients (Jan. 04, 2010): Atlanta's Out-going Mayor Shirley Franklin, Natalyn Archibong (District 5), Kwanza Hall (District 2), Dan Murphy (CSX Public Operations), and Alan Misiaszek (Department of Transportation).
CC: Other council members adjoining our districts.
AUG 2013: Broken links have been fixed and updated. Item 3 has been mostly resolved.
DEC 2015: Links are updated as follows.
The TELL CSX website has moved: https://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-us/contact-us/
Article 1: link revised here
Article 2: link confirmed working 12-2015
Article 3: http://www.nonoise.org/news/1998/may3.htm#NJ Res... (link revised here)
Article 4: Noise Control Ordinance link revised here
Article 5: link confirmed working 12-2015
Article 6: link confirmed working 12-2015
Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to improve our neighborhood.
(Please continue to tell others to sign this petition... comments are very helpful!)
Participants in the immediate area are invited to sign this petition. After doing so, please copy and personalize this letter and formally mail or email it to your local representative of council district 2 and/or council district 5.
For addresses and phone numbers, please see website http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/contacts.htm
AND/OR After signing the petition, you may use this information to personally contact CSX using the online feedback and recommendations form at tellCSX.
Follow this link and scroll down http://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-csx/contact-us/ and select Operational Concerns / Horn Noise or Operational Concerns / Other.
RESOURCES / REFERENCES FROM THE TEXT:
Article 1, Worcester, MA:
Article 2, Winterhaven, FL (scroll down to Environment Section of FAQ on the site):
Article(s) 3, New Jersey, (search also for "NJ Residents Win Tax Cuts in Fight to Reduce Rail Noise"):
Article 4, Atlanta Noise Ordinance:
(Search for Article IV Noise Control, Inman Park, and Cabbagetown for related topics)
Article 5, Lighting Guidelines:
Article 6, CSX admission of impacts (elsewhere)!
FUN FACTS: 2008 - Rail Road Crossing quiet zone was approved in downtown Atlanta, citing similar disturbances to residents.