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  Time has Come for Action on Long Trains and Quiet Zones
June 23, 2005

The Final Rule on Use of Locomotive Horns at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, which allows the establishment of Quiet Zones, goes into effect tomorrow, June 24, 2005. For more information, see TOM BUTT E-FORUM February 4, 2005,  Quiet Zones and Long Trains.

The time has come for the City of Richmond to honor the public policy directives set by the City Council. On April 13, 2004, in Resolution 62-04 directing the city manager and city attorney to initiate an application for a Quiet Zone throughout the City of Richmond and to file a Petition for Declaratory Order with the Surface Transportation Board requesting that the Board compel UP and BNSF to share tracks in a way that will eliminate the passage of long, through trains through south Richmond. The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors passed Resolution 2003-196 that is similar. Neither the city manager nor the city attorney has taken complied with Resolution 62-04, although I know that Assistant City Attorney Wayne Nishioka has been working on the Quiet Zone issue for some time.

For more information on Quiet Zones, see the FRA website and the links below:

In response to a legislative mandate, FRA has issued a Final Rule on the Use of Locomotive Horns at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings. This final rule, which requires that locomotive horns be sounded as a warning to highway users at public highway-rail crossings, will take effect on June 24, 2005. Until June 24, 2005, the sounding of locomotive horns at public crossings will remain subject to applicable State and local laws. The final rule provides an opportunity, not available until now, for thousands of localities nationwide to mitigate the effects of train horn noise by establishing new "quiet zones." The rule also details actions communities with pre-existing "whistle bans" can take to preserve the quiet they have become accustomed to.

What you can do:

Contact the Mayor and City Council members and ask them to direct the city manager and city attorney to comply with policy direction given in Resolution 62-04.

You can contact every member of the City Council via email by cutting and pasting the email addresses below:

irma_anderson@ci.richmond.ca.us; mlpenn@pacbell.net; natbates@pacbell.net; GayleMcL@sbcglobal.net; johnemarquez@aol.com; tom.butt@intres.com; richard_griffin@ci.richmond.ca.us; elirapty@aol.com; maria_viramontes@ci.richmond.ca.us

Phone numbers and mail addresses of the City Council are also available at http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/government/terms.html.

Press Release
Final Rule
Record of Decision: Use of Locomotive Horns Final Rule
Final Environmental Impact Statement
Guidance on the Quiet Zone Creation Process
     Quiet Zone Calculator
     Flow Chart Explanatory Text
     Chart 1A -- Pre-Rule Quiet Zones and Pre-Rule Quiet Zones Qualifying for Automatic Approval
     Chart 1B: Pre-Rule Quiet Zones and Pre-Rule Partial Quiet Zones Not Qualified for Automatic Approval
     Chart 2: Intermediate Quiet Zones and Intermediate Partial Quiet Zones
     Chart 3: Creating a New Quiet Zone or New Partial Quiet Zone using SSMs
     Chart 4A: Creating a Quiet Zone using Modified SSMs
     Chart 4B: Creating a Quiet Zone using Engineering ASMs
     Chart 4C: Creating a Quiet Zone using Non-Engineering ASMs

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