Friday, February 05, 2010

Quiet Zone to begin in February in Oak Lawn, Ill.

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Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) said that a railroad quiet zone eliminating the sounding of train horns except in emergencies is expected to take effect in Oak Lawn, Ill., on Wednesday, Feb. 17, the Southwest News-Herald reports.

Lipinski said his work with Metra and the Village of Oak Lawn was key to establishing the quiet zone, which covers all crossings on the Southwest Service line in the village.

"For the people residing along the Southwest line, this quiet zone will bring the most welcome sound of all - the sound of silence," Lipinski said. "From my own experience growing up, I know the disruptions and inconveniences that come with living near busy train tracks. That's why I continue to work with municipalities, Metra and the railroads to create quiet zones and find other ways to reduce the impact of trains on neighborhoods."

This is the second time in recent weeks that Lipinski said he has helped establish a quiet zone in the Third District. On Jan. 28, a quiet zone took effect on Canadian National Railway's Chicago Central & Pacific line in Riverside, North Riverside and Berwyn. That quiet zone, said the congressman, was the result of Lipinski working with CN and the three municipalities to develop a plan and work out the funding needed to implement it.

Documentation needed to create the Oak Lawn quiet zone was submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration last week. Provided no unforeseen problems arise, the quiet zone will take effect on Feb. 17. It is important to note that past experience indicates a brief adjustment period of roughly a week may be necessary following that date to achieve full compliance by train operators.

"I would like to thank Cong. Lipinski along with Metra, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Federal Railroad Administration for working so hard with village officials to secure our community's first quiet zone," Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen said.

"Noise abatement in a densely populated corridor like Oak Lawn certainly is a long-term enhancement of our quality of life," Deetjen continued. "The most successful government programs in America today recognize the need for all levels of government to cooperate from the federal to the local level. The Oak Lawn quiet zone exemplifies this principle."

While the Federal Railroad Administration requires locomotives to sound their horns at public highway-rail grade crossings, communities that meet specific safety criteria can establish quiet zones that ban the use of train horns at crossings except in emergencies.

In this case, safety upgrades necessary to establish the zone included new signage, the reconstruction of the barrier median at the Cicero Avenue crossing and the conversion of the Cook Avenue crossing to a pedestrian-only crossing.

The quiet zone also includes one crossing in Hometown, Ill.

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