Clinton Herald Letter to the Editor-01

When I was on the Clinton City Council, the police requested that the noise ordinance be amended to what it is now. The amendment was made and since then I have seen no evidence that any effort has been made to enforce the ordinance.

Now that the weather is warmer and daylight lasts longer, noise is a constant. Motorcycles, many with modified exhaust systems and blaring radios, drown out everything else. The same can be said for many automobiles and pickups. Anyone who rents or owns property is entitled to the quiet enjoyment of that property.

I live at the corner of Fifth Avenue South and Second Street. As I am writing this, a vehicle below has music loud enough to rattle the windows. In addition, every entrance into town says that the engine brake ordinance is enforced. I live three blocks from the U.S. 30 Bridge and hear engine braking all the time. I strongly feel that any ordinance should be enforced or removed.

If we now hope to have people living in the Wilson Building or in the Lafayette Hotel and other downtown locations, we have to eliminate this noise. The ordinance specifies that a noise that is audible 300 feet away is in violation of the noise ordinance. Downtown blocks are about 300 feet, so noise that is audible more than a block away is in violation.

Several years ago, the City started its plan to create a quiet zone for trains. This unfunded mandate on the city was prompted by someone who, several years ago, went around crossing gates in Texas and was hit by a train. I was born in Clinton over 81 years ago and don’t think anyone has ever been T-boned by a train while driving around crossing gates in the City. Nevertheless, barriers have been built for downtown crossings in Clinton and other crossings have been closed, which limits access to and from the riverfront – especially by first responders.

I know of suicides by people who have walked down the tracks and sat down on them, but no fatalities involving people who have driven around lowered gates.

Work on this project has been sporadic. I don’t think any work has been done on this project this year and most of last year. Why start a project as disruptive as this until it is organized well enough to go from start to finish without leaving it half done for as long as it has been?

When I first came back to Clinton in early 2003, there was very little rail traffic on what are now the CP tracks. Now that traffic has increased significantly and part of that is UP trains. Some locomotive engineers blow their horns at maximum volume continuously, some do not. Why not work with the railroad to have the horns sounded more softly, especially since most of the crossings downtown have been closed and are blocked?

Michael J. Kearney, Clinton

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