Quiet zone proposal to go before city council
The addition of medians at six of Fairfield’s eight railroad crossings is key to the establishment of a quiet zone under the plan recommended by Andy Mielke of SRF Consulting Group Inc.
Members of the Fairfield City Council Public Safety and Transportation Committee plan to put the quiet zone proposal before the full council Monday night. Approval Monday would put the city on track to silence train horns by next summer.
The total cost of establishing a quiet zone is estimated at a little more than $300,000. So far, the citizen’s action committee, which is responsible for privately funding the full amount, has raised around $200,000 for the project.
If the council approves a quiet zone Monday, the next step would be to file a notice of intent, which takes about two months. Then three to six months will be spent on the quiet zone application and three to six months will be spent on design and construction. Finally, a quiet zone would go into effect 21 days after a notice of establishment.
“To get a quiet zone, you’ve got to make the crossings as a whole safer than they are now,” councilman Michael Halley said during a public forum Monday evening.
One of the most effective ways to increase safety at crossings is to install medians, which the Federal Railroad Administration says reduce risk by 80 percent. The medians must be at least 6 inches tall, 2 feet wide and anywhere from 60 feet to 100 feet long.
Mielke has recommended medians extending north and south from the D Street, B Street, Court Street, Main Street and 23rd Street railroad crossings.
At Fourth Street, where a second set of railroad tracks are outside the crossing gates, Mielke recommends a 45-foot median on the south side with a white line and sign instructing vehicles to stop at the line; a 75-foot median would extend north from the crossing.
Several of the streets with proposed medians also would require widening of 2 feet to 3 feet to accommodate the city’s snow plows, which need at least 12 feet clearance, Halley explained.
The proposal includes closing the Third Street crossing. It also provides the option to close the Court Street crossing; however, Halley said closing Court Street doesn’t have enough council support. Halley recognized closing the crossing would be less expensive, but indicated the quiet zone has been designed to create the least amount of inconvenience.
No changes were recommended at Ninth Street.
For the complete article, see the Tuesday, July 6, 2010, printed edition of The Fairfield Ledger.