Establishing a Railroad Quiet Zone
The City of Eugene is working on several inter-related railroad projects:
Establishing a train horn quiet zone in the downtown area;
Relocating the rail crossing on Eighth Avenue near Hilyard Street; and
Supporting a new Amtrak siding west of Willamette Street.
Each project has its unique requirements and objectives, but each project impinges on the others:
The idea of a quiet zone has broad support in the community. There are more than 30 at-grade rail crossings in Eugene, but the immediate focus (phase 1) is on 10 crossings in the downtown area between Hilyard Street and Van Buren Street. Obtaining approval for a quiet zone from state and federal agencies most likely will include a requirement to close at least two of the crossings to vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. Two streets that have been mentioned for closure are Lincoln Street and Madison Street. In addition to the requirement to close several crossings, other safety improvements such as installing “quad gates” would need to be made. The estimated cost for these improvements is $5 million. Local funding for those improvements has not been identified at this time.
Relocating the rail crossing on Eighth Avenue is needed to make the EWEB riverfront property more conducive to development. The relocation requires the approval of Union Pacific Railroad and state and federal rail agencies. A requirement for the relocation is the closure of at least two at-grade crossings – the existing crossing immediately to the east of the new crossing, and another crossing in the downtown rail corridor. Staff is confirming that this additional crossing closure would also help meet the closure requirements for a quiet zone.
Constructing a new siding for Amtrak trains west of the Eugene Depot would be a state rail project. Staff is confirming the status of planning and funding this major project. When the siding is constructed, the closure of Lincoln Street would be required because the siding operation area would extend to Lincoln Street. This provides additional rationale for closing Lincoln Street to help meet the closure requirements for a quiet zone.
RRQZ Citizen Advisory Panel
Sam Hahn, Whiteaker Community Council
Sherrill Necessary, Downtown Neighbors Association
Kelsey Weilbrenner, residents directly affected (east end)
Jonathan Brandt, Residents generally interested
Ron Saylor, Business owners (west end)
Jeff Althouse, Business owners (west end)
Casey Barrett. Business owners(east end)
Sue Wolling, People who bike, walk or use transit
Brittany Quick-Warner, Chamber of Commerce
Bill Randall, Planning Commission
Eugene Organ, People with disabilities
Register-Guard (Eugene, OR), 2015-03-10 : Eugene councilors wonder what it would take to silence train horns throughout the city
Eugene Weekly 2015-04-24: Eugene Behind In Nixing Super-Loud Train Horns
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