Oceanside to hear
'quiet zone' proposal
OCEANSIDE ---- Oceanside seems
interested in the idea of quiet trains. The City Council is scheduled
to hear a report Wednesday on the idea of creating a "quiet zone" in
downtown Oceanside where trains would not have to blow their horns as
they approach railroad crossings, as they are required to do by
A new federal law set to take effect in December could help cities
muzzle trains that travel through cities, and Oceanside seems to be
the North Coastal city most interested in doing so
Existing state and federal
law requires all trains ---- passenger and freight ---- to blast a
warning one quarter-mile from each railroad crossing. The horn-blowing
can become onerous for anyone who lives or works within a few hundred
feet of a railroad crossing, but it is designed to provide an
additional margin of warning to the gates and flashing lights that
mark each crossing.
The new law will allow cities to stop the trains from blowing their
horns in residential areas --- provided the city can prove the
crossing will be safer than the national average of all railroad
crossings even after horns are silenced. Train engineers would still
be free to use their horns inside a quiet zone in an emergency, such
as if they spot someone walking on the tracks.
John Amberson, a city transportation planner, said Oceanside is
studying ways that it could ensure the safety of pedestrians if the
city were to adopt a quiet zone. Amberson said it is unclear the
additional measures the city would need to take, but those could
include additional lights, signage or gates at each railroad crossings
in order to better protect pedestrians.
Amberson said the matter is a quality of life issue.
"Most rail corridors are becoming urbanized," Amberson said, adding
that silencing trains is still a long way off. "Noise has become an
issue for new residents."
Oceanside has some supporters of the quiet zones on the council. City
Councilman Rocky Chavez said Monday that he was a strong supporter of
Chavez said it was important to people that live in the downtown area
and the visitors and business owners.
Councilman Jack Feller said previously that creating a quiet zone in
Oceanside could be risky, even though the city has seen no railroad
accidents at crossings in the last five years. However, he called the
prospect "exciting," and said he had received more than 15 calls from
residents on the subject after word of the quiet zone proposal became
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said the city needs to balance safety with
the nuisance concerns.
Contact staff writer Rob O'Dell at (760) 901-4067 or