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PALESTINE, September 27, 2017 – Downtown Palestine will become a little quieter as a railroad Quiet Zone will be implemented on October 20.
The City of Palestine sent a letter of notice to Union Pacific and the Federal Railroad Administration on the creation of the zone. Signs will be posted for motorists and train engineers at two downtown crossings, South Magnolia and South Sycamore streets.
In April 2016, the city contracted engineers CTC Inc. to work with Union Pacific and the Federal Railroad Administration on the quiet zone preparation. After consultation with Union Pacific, an extended curb was installed on South Magnolia Street for additional safety.
“The implementation of a quiet zone has been a long process for many years,” Public Works Director Tim Perry said. “The first times that the city tried to request implementing a quiet zone the equipment to meet federal standards were not in place and the cost of upgrading them was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Years later when the request to re-evaluate the implementation was requested our investigations found that all the older monitoring equipment, and signal arms had been updated to the current standard to accommodate the implementation of a quiet zone.
“We first and foremost want to make this implementation as safe to our residents as possible, but still want to enhance the quality of life as much as possible with the implementation of the quiet zone.”
In the quiet zone, residents could still hear train horns. Federal law dictates train engineers may sound the horn in emergency situations. Also, engineers must sound the horn when maintenance employees are working on the tracks.
Greg Laudadio, Main Street Manager and Assistant Director for the Palestine Economic Development Corporation, said the quiet zone will have a huge positive impact.
“The installation of a quiet zone along the Spring St. corridor has been highly anticipated by residents and business owners in the Main Street district,” Laudadio said. “Many feel that reducing the noise from passing train horns will encourage business and make conducting business transactions easier. One of the concerns voiced by some of the residents who live downtown is the noise produced from the trains. Taking that out of the equation may help make the downtown area a more desirable place to work and live.”
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