SAN DIEGO -- Noise may be a factor when
living in any urban setting.
In downtown San Diego, more than
a few people feel the noise from freight trains in the middle of
the night is over the top.
Downtown noise has been an issue
even before the building boom, but now that more people are living
downtown it has become a problem.
However, a solution for this
issue may not be too far off.
When many residents moved
downtown from the suburbs, they knew there would be noise.
But in terms of decibels,
resident Sandra Simmons -- who lives above the Brickyard Café --
said the noise is “nuts.”
“Deafening noise is 120 decibels
and 100 decibels is a rock concert. So every night we have a rock
concert,” said Simmons.
Residents are especially
irritated with Burlington Northern -- which runs freight trains
out of San Diego usually in the wee hours of the morning.
“You know, every time they get to
an intersection, they pull that big horn and there is a lot of
intersections all the way up,” said downtown resident George
There are in fact 13
intersections between the convention center and Little Italy, and
current regulations require that engineers sound off each one.
Residents recognize there is a
safety concern, but most also believe that the horn blowing has
“The only thing people were
theorizing is that an engineer got mad at somebody. We don’t know,
but all of a sudden the horns started blowing louder and louder,”
said resident Pat McCarron.
Actually, it’s not McCarron’s
imagination. The Federal Railroad Administration put new rules in
“Six weeks ago, a new ruling came
out from the FRA that engineers blow the horn 15 seconds before
each crossing and through the crossing,” said Donna Alm of the
Center City Development Corp.
But in order to quiet the horn,
safety improvements must be made to each of the 13 downtown
crossings, and that has not happened yet.
The city is trying to establish a
quiet zone through the downtown corridor, and that could happen in
about one year.
Downtown residents, the railroad
and other parties concerned will meet at city hall Monday evening
to discuss the issue.