New railroad crossing safety enhancements were completed at the Palisades Drive/Beach Road railroad crossing in Dana Point in 2012 as part of the Orange County Transportation Authority's (OCTA) rail safety enhancement program. The improvements led the way for the establishment of the quiet zone, an area along the tracks where train horns are not routinely sounded.
"We are thrilled Dana Point has joined the list of cities in our county in establishing a quiet zone for their residents," said OCTA Chair Greg Winterbottom. "OCTA has taken a proactive approach to rail safety in the county and we are excited the improvements have led to enhanced safety and a better quality of life for our residents."
OCTA partnered with eight cities to implement the $85-million program, which includes safety enhancements at 52 crossings throughout Orange County. Improvements included upgraded and updated warning devices, additional gate arms, extended and raised medians, improved signage and coordinated traffic signals.
Once the improvements were made, cities were able to officially apply for quiet zone status with the Federal Railroad Administration. By law, engineers must sound their horns up to four times when they approach a crossing. If a quiet zone is established, trains will only sound their horns if the engineer believes it necessary for safety reasons or the train is traveling through a construction zone.
To date, 38 crossings have been designated quiet zones throughout the county in the cities of Anaheim, Orange, Dana Point, Irvine, Tustin, San Clemente and Santa Ana.
Construction on all the crossings was completed in January 2012.