The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

November 30, 2012

City to look at silencing trains

Councilman Gassman wants city to investigate creating quiet zones

CLINTON — Clinton officials are considering a measure that would allow the city to be exempt from the sound of train horns travelling along the Canadian Pacific lines.  

Federal law requires trains to sound their horns. However a city can create a “quiet zone” if it implements a number of safety requirements and follows a set of standards.    

The City Services Committee briefly discussed the item on Wednesday at the request of councilman Paul Gassman, Ward 4. Gassman said he would like to see the quiet zone rules in effect overnight and specifically in the area between Seventh Avenue South to 10th Avenue North.  

“I thought it would make it more peaceful for everybody,” Gassman said. “I think everyone in the city would appreciate less noise in the evening and morning.”

The Federal Railroad Association does allow zones to be established to cover a full 24-hour period or only overnight from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., but the process isn’t as simple as ask and you shall receive.  

“It’s not something you just walk in and fill out an application and then you are granted one,” City Attorney Jeff Farwell said.

As evidenced by other cities that have implemented train quiet zones, nine of them in Iowa, the project can be time consuming and expensive. 

According to an Associated Press article, the city of Burlington completed the project in 2010, nearly five years after officials initially started investigating it. To complete it, the city hired a consulting firm to design and implement the quiet zone plan for $80,000.

The quiet zone plan involved installing medians at six grade crossings and realigning one street. Two other grade crossings were also closed as a result of the quiet zone. In total, creating the quiet zone cost the city roughly $425,000, the article stated.  

Two years after implementing the quiet zones, Burlington Mayor Jim Davidson said they have allowed for downtown redevelopment including turning a former factory into an apartment building that he believes wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

“I can’t brag on it enough. It is absolutely wonderful,” Davidson, who was on the city council at the beginning of the planning process, said. “From our perspective, it’s been great.  It’s been really good for our downtown and people’s peace and tranquility.”  

Farwell cited 19 grade crossings along the Canadian Pacific line running from McKinley Street to Third Avenue South that would potentially need attention if the city pursued quiet zones.

A new quiet zone must be at least one-half mile in length and have at least one public highway-rail grade crossing, according to the FRA. Every public grade crossing in a new quiet zone must be equipped with the standard or conventional flashing light and automatic warning gates, at minimum.  

Of the 19 in Clinton, some would require minimal work, while others would require a tremendous amount to meet federal standards.   

“Some are very basic crossings, some have signals. I’m sure all of them require some sort of modification, it depends on how much,” Farwell said.

Additional safety engineering improvements might include medians to prevent drivers from going around the lowered gates, converting a one-way into a two-way street or closure of the crossing. Just as indistinct as the needs of Clinton’s grade crossings are the costs of the improvements.  

Morrison Police Chief Brian Melton said the quiet zone along the Union Pacific line in Morrison carries both positives and negatives. While it has had a positive impact on comfort, it has not done much in the way of safety, he said.

“It’s not a very safe combination with no speed limits or horns,” Melton said.

Since the quiet zones have been implemented, one pedestrian has been struck and killed by a train. Another was nearly hit, he said.

“Would the horns have made a difference? I don’t know, but they make people more aware,” Melton said.

Davidson said the trains running through Burlington have a speed limit and so far no deficiencies in safety have been noticed.

Canadian Pacific Trains running through Clinton also have to adhere to a 20 mile per hour speed limit.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • World Book Night 1 Clinton Public Library hosts largest World Book Night event in the country

    CLINTON -- With more than 21 titles and 800 copies to give away, what reader wouldn't adore an event like World Book Night? Organizers at the Clinton Public Library wondered the same Wednesday, and were pleased with turnout for the third annual event

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials: Future bright for Thomson prison

    FULTON, Ill. -- After more than 12 years of waiting, a long list of broken promises and millions of dollars worth of idle investments, the future is looking a little brighter for the Thomson Correctional Center. Following a $166.3 million federal bud

    April 24, 2014

  • 4-24-14 Golf cart tour photo National Wildlife and Fish Refuge to host golf cart tours THOMSON, Ill. -- Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge are hosting Refuge Golf Cart Tours that travel through the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The tours are free and open to all ages. Trips are the first and th

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged in meth case CLINTON -- A Clinton man has been charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine. Timothy W. Atkinson, 35, 1419 Honey Lane, was arrested Sunday after Clinton police executed a search warrant at his residence.

    April 24, 2014

  • Workers Memorial Day 2014 events scheduled CLINTON -- Working families, faith leaders and local officials will gather around Iowa, Friday through Monday, for a vigil to commemorate those who have perished or suffered injuries or illness on the job and to call on Congress to create safe jobs f

    April 24, 2014

  • Coalition alerting parents to underage drinking CAMANCHE -- There are two significant milestones that many students look forward to during their high school careers -- prom and graduation. However, because of bad decision-making, some students will never get to experience those rights of passage

    April 24, 2014

  • 4-24-14 Dutch Days Preview Photo Dutch Days: 40 years and counting

    FULTON, Ill. -- A spring-time staple will return for its 40th consecutive year. The community will come together once again May 2 to celebrate Fulton's heritage at the 40th annual Dutch Days Festival. Dutch Days committee chairwoman and City Alderwom

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Judge denies guilty plea withdrawal CLINTON -- A Clinton County District Court judge has denied a man's attempt at withdrawing a guilty plea. Eric R. Hook, 45, 900 S. 10th St., was sentenced last week to no more than five years in prison for willful injury causing bodily injury, a clas

    April 24, 2014

  • Man charged in meth case

    A Clinton man has been charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine.

    Timothy W. Atkinson, 35, 1419 Honey Lane, was arrested Sunday after Clinton police executed a search warrant at his residence.

    April 23, 2014

  • Judge denies guilty plea withdrawal

    A Clinton County District Court judge has denied a man's attempt at withdrawing a guilty plea.

    Eric R. Hook, 45, 900 S. 10th St., was sentenced last week to no more than five years in prison for willful injury causing bodily injury, a class D felony. He also was given a sentence of no more than two years in prison for domestic abuse assault, second offense, to be served concurrently.

    April 23, 2014

Facebook
Clinton
Camanche
Fulton
Clinton Herald photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.