PETITION FOR MANTECA HORN NOISE REDUCTION & QUIET ZONE
We, the undersigned, petition the City Council of Manteca to establish the City of Manteca as a Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) approved train horn Quiet Zone (QZ). We want the City Council to remedy the noise pollution problem caused by the train whistle / horn by:
1. Having City Council place an item on the agenda at the next Council meeting to discuss a Motion to establish a QZ for our city.
2. Having City Council file a written Notice of Intent to the FRA. (See below for Establishing a Quite Zone.)
The City of Manteca takes pride in calling itself “the family city.” However, you might have never guessed this as a Resident given the excessive noise caused by the train horn, as numerous trains crisscross the city at all hours of the day and night. Residents may have tried raising this issue with the City and may have been given the standard answer that the trains are federally regulated and out of the control of City law/code. Even worse, they may have been dismissed with another generalization that the railway, and the trains that roll over it, existed prior to the City’s own existence. Now we all understand that the railway is of great importance to Manteca’s’ economy, but we don’t have to compromise on our health and welfare, and that of our families, for the railway, and vice versa; what City officials may fail to let noise battered Citizens know is that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has made it possible, through the establishment of a QZ, for local governments and municipalities to virtually eliminate all of the noise pollution caused by the damaging sound levels of the train horn when passing through a grade crossing while maintaining and in some cases, increasing the safety level.
It is a well known fact, thoroughly researched and documented, that a full night’s sleep is invaluable to the human body and mind, and that the constant lack of it results in harm to the same. But don’t take our word for it, consider the following links: http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory and http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-requirements as just two examples of the numerous articles and studies done on how sleep deprivation can impair your mind and body. Lack of sleep can impair our learning and judgment, possibly causing more illness and accidents than the train horn prevents. During sleep and rest the body fights infection, illness and other ailments and regenerates the mind. Therefore, places of healing like hospitals, elderly care centers, safe houses, churches and YES, our own homes need to have an environment that, among other things, is conducive to restful sleep.
The City may or may not always look out for its current and/or future Residents regarding noise abatement during residential construction near existing highways or railroads; to be fair, the City does purport to conduct environmental studies that include a Noise Study, prior to the approval of any new housing projects, however, those studies may or maynot always be accurate or tailored to adequately cover all possible noise situations. For reference, please consider the Tesoro Subdivision, approved by the City in 2003 for both 1 & 2-story homes. Right behind this community, where Moffat Blvd. crosses E. Woodward Ave. is a graded railway crossing that caused the City to require the developer to build noise barriers in the form of walls. However, the developer was only required to build an 8-ft wall at that particular section of the Subdivision; never mind that such a wall would only benefit the eventual 1-story, and never the 2-story homeowners. Given the extent of the railway in Manteca, we all most likely share similar if not identical issues with the train horn.
There has never been a better time to petition our elected City officials to act on a matter that affects the community almost equally. Please join us in accomplishing this effort.
We would like to have City Council make it a priority to eliminate the noise pollution caused by the train horn and establish a QZ for our city. The following links show how to establish a QZ. http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/1318
Other cities have already established Quite Zones. For instance San Diego (http://www.quietzonesd.info/) and Richmond CA (http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspNID=1167.) Establishing a Quiet Zone
There are both Federal and State regulations that govern the sounding of train locomotive horns. Federal regulations called the Final Rule on the Use of Locomotive Horns at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, 49 CFR 222 (Horn Rule), require that trains sound their horns as a warning to highway users at public highway-rail crossings. California Public Utilities Code Section 7604 requires that trains sound their horns at all private and pedestrian crossings as well.
The Horn Rule allows localities to establish quiet zones, which prohibits the routine sounding of horns at quiet zone designated rail crossings.
In order to establish a quiet zone, the crossing must have:
Minimum Length of at least one-half mile along the railroad track (except where a new quiet zone is added to an existing quiet zone).
Active grade crossing warning devices that include both flashing lights and gates that control traffic over the crossing. In addition, the crossing must be equipped with constant warning time devices (regulating when the gate arms drop), if reasonably practical, and power-out indicators.
Advance Warning Signs that advise the motorist that train horns are not sounded at the crossing.
In order to establish a quiet zone, the City must first provide a written Notice of Intent to the Federal Railroad Administration, California Public Utilities Commission, and the railroad carrier operating over the impacted right-of-way. The Notice of Intent has a 60-day comment period. If there is a private and/or pedestrian grade crossing in the proposed quiet zone, a diagnostic team (composed of representatives of the impacted railroad carrier, the Federal Railroad Administration and the California Public Utilities Commission) must evaluate whether or not the quiet zone meets the above stated criteria. After expiration of the 60-day comment period (or after completion of diagnostic team recommendations, if any) the City must provide a Notice of Quiet Zone Establishment with a minimum 21-day notice period. The quiet zone is established upon expiration of the 21-day notice period. Thereafter, the routine sounding of horns at the quiet zone crossing is prohibited.
Manteca City Homepage: http://www.ci.manteca.ca.us/
San Diego Quite Zone:
Richmond Quite Zone: http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=1776
City of Lincoln Nebraska efforts in establishing a Quiet Zone: http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/
Federal Rail Road Administration Quiet Zone procedure with Department of Transportation:
Useful Contacts: Federal Railroad Administration Chris Adams Acting Grade Crossing Manager (360) 696-7536 email@example.com Burlington Northern Santa Fe Dan MacDonald, P.E., Public Projects Manager (206) 625-6146 firstname.lastname@example.org 2454 Occidental Ave, Suite 1A, Seattle WA 98134 Burlington Northern Santa Fe - Vancouver Division Kerry Keene, Terminal Superintendent (360) 418-6429 email@example.com 1313 W 11th St, Vancouver WA 98660 Contact for local BNSF train concerns/complaints