Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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  by DutchRailnut
By Brian Lockhart
Staff Writer

April 11, 2004

NORWALK -- City officials are hoping to take advantage of a new federal law allowing communities to establish railroad quiet zones to silence train whistles in certain neighborhoods.

In response to an inquiry by Common Council President Bruce Kimmel, the Department of Public Works is preparing quiet-zone applications to be submitted to the state Department of Transportation.

Kimmel, who represents the city's northern Silvermine and Cranbury neighborhoods, said the need for quiet zones was raised by a constituent who lives on Creeping Hemlock Drive -- within earshot of the Glover Avenue crossing and the crossing at Kent Road in Wilton.

"The trains come through at night and the whistles are quite loud," Kimmel said.

In addition to Glover Avenue, Norwalk officials would like to quiet train whistles at Catherine Street, Broad Street and Perry Avenue, among others. The city will approach Wilton about seeking a quiet zone around the Kent Road crossing, Kimmel said.

To establish a quiet zone, a municipality must file a petition with the state DOT and demonstrate that the crossing has enough safety features to ensure the loss of the whistle will not pose a hazard to drivers or pedestrians.

Richard Linnartz, principal design engineer for public works, said many of Norwalk's crossings have been upgraded over the past four to five years with gates and bells and should qualify for quiet-zone status.

Linnartz, who lives in East Norwalk, agreed that middle-of-the-night train whistles can carry quite far and be disturbing to people trying to sleep.

"I live 3 to 4 miles from the tracks (and) I hear the train," he said. "When you have a real still, humid night, you can hear the whistle throughout Norwalk . . . Any time you can quiet one crossing it's a benefit."

Linnartz said Kimmel's concern about train whistles in his district led public works to file an application that covers as many crossings as possible in the city.

He said the city also is going to inquire about how to silence crossings over state roads.

"We have to talk to the state about whether (we have) to apply on their behalf, or if they have to apply," Linnartz said.

The Federal Railroad Association published the new quiet-zone rule Dec. 18 and it is scheduled to take effect Dec. 18 this year.

A state DOT spokesperson could not be reached for comment. In December, however, Raymond Cox, assistant administrator of rail operations, said in an interview that all applications will be carefully scrutinized.

"We're not going to compromise safety for convenience," Cox had said.

One resident who is not enthusiastic about the prospect of quiet zones in Norwalk is Richard Carpenter, former director of the Southwestern Regional Planning Agency and a railroad historian.

Carpenter admits he understands how some people living close to railroad tracks might be disturbed by a train whistle, but said "I hope they don't silence it completely."

"Many a person has been lured away from a small town to . . . the life of the outside world by the romance of a train whistle," he said. "It's always been nice in Norwalk to hear those in the night and daytime."
Copyright © 2004, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.

  by NIMBYkiller
These idiots need to get a life.

""The trains come through at night and the whistles are quite loud," Kimmel said"

Really, no shit shirlock! Hey, if you don't want to hear it, then why did you move there? Oh yeah, b/c you have lost all common sense.

I hope these people don't get their whistle ban just so I can laugh in their idiotic faces.

  by DutchRailnut
only two crossings , New Canaan Avenue and Cross street are wide enough for Center dividers. a mandatory Item for Whistle ban crossings all other crossings are barely two lanes wide with no posebility for any center divider.

  by DaveP
I wish Mr. Kimmel would put all that energy towards fixing the thousands of potholes in Norwalk. Or how about improving the schools. All I can say is that I live much closer to the Glover Avenue crossing then he does and unless he has supersonic ears I think he's sleeping just fine.

  by the missing link
i was a resident of norwalk for the past six years and no where else in the area have i encountered more bad drivers.it's like a vortex or a bermuda triangle or something.red lights?a joke!headlights off at night?no problemb!pass a stopped schoolbus?who cares!oh, and those particular streets,rt1,perry, catherine,new cannan ave,ever notice how much garbage is heaped along the right of way?back in budd car days we used to get "rocked"through there at least every other trip.

  by Clean Cab
New flash!! These people live next to a railraod!! And if people obeyed traffic laws (like stopping at RR crossings!!) maybe then "No blow" zones could be established. But the very first time a car gets struck at one of these "Quiet Zones" all bets are off!!
  by Tom Curtin
I note with interest that all the fuss --- at least all that's being reported here --- is at the Norwalk end of the line. Up at the north end of the Danbury line, in Danbury proper, there are 4 grade crossings in rapid succession in neighborhoods that range from partly to mostly residential, and I'm not aware of a lot of fuss being made up there. In Bethel there are 3 crossings in rapid succession, two of which are predominately residential streets, and I'm not aware of a lot of fuss being made there either.

I know that Danbury line and the territory it passes through as well as anybody, and it seems to me that the part of the line from Kent Road all the way down to Cross Street --- which seems to cover all the area people are fussing about --- is more commercial than anything else.

The 26 crossings on that line have, for some reason, as long as I can remember, been a magnet for car-train accidents. I do not doubt that all of them are due to the reasons stated previously, i.e., somebody driving with his/her head "inserted in a place where the sun don't shine."

  by Dieter
Norwalk officials need to implement regular drug testing - ON THEMSELVES.

When you purchase a home or rent an apartment, if you have any level of cogniscance, you know if you are moving beneath an airport glide pattern, near a factory, a super highway, or something called A RAILROAD.

OK, let's make everyone happy. In Norwalk, the trains don't have to blow for crossings anymore. IN TURN, the railroad's liability for any collisions at railway crossings is transferred to the City of Norwalk....


Perhaps then after a multi-million dollar study farmed out to a think tank, resulting in the proposal at a Council Meeting to FORCE trains to whistle LOUDLY at crossings would WAKE THE TURNIPS UP?