Quiet Zone in San Diego
  Information and Contacts regarding Train Horns & a Quiet Zone in San Diego
MTS Discussion Items
1255 Imperial Avenue, Suite 1000, San Diego


From:  Board of Directors Meeting August 10, 2006




31. MTS: Federal Railroad Administration Horn Rule – Quiet Zones (AG 210.3, PC 50111)


Mr. Wayne Terry, SDTI Vice President of Operations, provided the Committee with an overview

of activities currently underway to qualify 13 railroad crossings for quiet zone status. He

provided background on current horn rules as mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration

(FRA) and issues of concern to the community and the railroads. He also reported that, if quiet

zones are approved for these crossings, continuous sounding of gate bells may be required and

SDTI’s nearside gate hold-off feature may be voided. Mr. Terry then provided detail on the

changes to infrastructure that would have to be made and equipment that would have to be

installed at these crossings to meet safety regulations associated with quiet zones. He reported

that the capital costs for these changes will be considerable and added that operations and

maintenance costs could total $10,000 to $20,000 annually. He then displayed a map showing

the proposed quiet zone locations. Mr. Terry informed the Committee that staff intends to

proceed with this project as detailed in the recommendation in the agenda item.


Mr. Faulconer stated that, when this item is voted on, he would be abstaining because of the

involvement of the City of San Diego in this project. He stated that he is very strongly in favor of

this project and stated that MTS staff has been very helpful thus far. He stated that horn rules

are now being more strictly enforced and, because of the frequency of the crossings in the

downtown area, there is an almost continuous blowing of train horns. He stated that this is

particularly disturbing to downtown residents in the middle of the night and has become a quality

of life issue. Mr. Faulconer stated that he appreciated the cooperation demonstrated by MTS

staff and thanked Mr. Jablonski for attending the community forum he organized to discuss this

matter. Mr. Monroe recognized Mr. Faulconer for his leadership on this issue and pointed out

that this is also an important issue for the downtown hotels and the tourist industry. Mr.

Jablonski hoped that MTS and the Centre City Development Corporation would reach an

agreement on quiet zones by the end of the month. He stated that this agreement would then

be presented to the Board for approval at its September 14, 2006, meeting.


Chairman Mathis pointed out that, without the votes of City of San Diego representatives, the

Board would not have the quorum needed to vote on this item; therefore, the item was handled

as an information item.


Action Taken

This report was handled as an information item, and no action was taken.

source: http://www.sdcommute.com//Agencies/MTS/MTDB/documents/BoardMinutes8-10-06.pdf

From: Board of Directors Meeting September 14, 2006




30. MTS: Federal Railroad Administration Horn Rule – Quiet Zones (AG 210.3, PC 50111)


Chairman Mathis read a letter dated September 14, 2006, from Councilmember Kevin

Faulconer into the record as follows: “Dear Chairman Mathis: I am writing this letter to convey

my continued support for the Downtown Quiet Zone. While I am unable to attend today’s

meeting due to a special meeting of the San Diego City Council, I would like the Board to know

how important this project is to thousands of San Diego residents. The continued ability of MTS

to work alongside other organizations such as NCTD, BNSF and CCDC is vital in order to see

the Quiet Zone come to fruition. I greatly appreciate the responsiveness of MTS staff who have

been working closely with me these past several months, and I urge the Board to move forward

today. I apologize again for not being able to attend today’s meeting, and I thank you for taking

the time to read this letter into the record.”


No presentation was made by staff on this item since a full presentation had already been made

at the August 10, 2006, meeting. Mr. Roberts stated that he was disappointment that City of

San Diego representatives were not present to discuss this item. He felt that it was important to

extend Quiet Zones all the way to Old Town and pointed out that the City of San Diego just

approved a new condominium project at Washington Station that would benefit from this

extension. Ms. Lorenzen pointed out that item 1 of this agenda item states “to support the Quiet

Zone concept at public grade crossings between Old Town Transit center and Fifth Avenue…”

She reported that she recommended to the Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) and

the City of San Diego that two “tracks” be created for this project, with the second track, which

includes Old Town, running concurrently. She stated that she has not yet received a response

to this recommendation. Mr. Roberts stressed that at least as much effort should go into

including Washington Station in this project and requested that this item be carried over to the

Board’s September 28, 2006, agenda so City representatives can be involved in the discussion.

Mr. James Lawson, aide to Mr. Faulconer, approached the podium and advised the Board that

Mr. Faulconer encourages the Board to take action today so there is no delay in the

implementation of this project. It was pointed out that the delay would only be for two weeks,

and negotiations related to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) are still underway.


Public Comment


Chuck Lungerhausen: Mr. Lungerhausen completed a speaker’s slip but did not make any



Action Taken


Mr. Emery moved to delay discussion of this item to the Board’s September 28, 2006, meeting

and direct staff to proceed with negotiations for the MOU with the objective of having two

“tracks” with the second track, which includes Old Town, running concurrently. Mr. Clabby

seconded the motion, and the vote was 9 to 0 in favor.


source:  http://www.sdcommute.com//Agencies/MTS/MTDB/documents/BoardMinutes9-14-06.pdf