Smaller 'quiet zone' for passing trains in Glendale unlikely

Residents tired of honking trains called on Glendale officials to shrink a proposed “quiet zone” in the San Fernando Corridor from six railroad crossings to three this week at a community meeting about upcoming construction.

“Even though it’s tiny, it’ll make a big difference to all of us,” said resident Kathy Drummond. “When you have 85 trains honking three times a day, you do the math.”

But city officials said that while reducing the number of crossings would speed up their application to the federal government for a zone free of honking, it would be too small to be worth it.

About 20 people attended the meeting Thursday evening at the Environmental Management Center on Flower Street. The door had to be shut midway through to stifle honks from load trains.

The city has already improved one railroad crossing at Flower Street and in November, construction on two more along Sonora and Grandview Avenues is set to begin. But there are three more that need improvements and two out of those three face significant hurdles.

Before applying to the Federal Railroad Administration, Glendale must have improvements done at all the crossings in the proposed quiet zone. And even if every improvement is made, federal officials could still reject the application.

“We’ve waited a long time,” said resident Judy Taylor.

But they’re going to have to wait even longer.

One of the railroad crossings adding to the holdup may not be complete for another year and the other has to chug through the court system before any work there can get started.

The Broadway/Brazil Street and Doran Street crossings both border Los Angeles, which comes with its own set of roadblocks.

For Broadway/Brazil Street, Metrolink has taken the lead with improvements, but it’s up to Los Angeles to place a signal on its side of the tracks.

Kim Chan, project engineer at Metrolink, said that signal may not be installed for another year and improvements to the Chevy Chase Drive crossing wouldn’t begin until Broadway/Brazil Street work is complete.

The crossing causing the biggest holdup though is Doran Street, considered to be one of the most dangerous crossings in the area.

An administrative law judge is reviewing a recommendation by Glendale, Los Angeles, Metrolink and other interested parties to make Doran Street a one-way crossing westbound so that public safety vehicles can access the industrial buildings on the Los Angeles side of the tracks. The one-way designation would be in place until a bridge over the tracks, similar to the Fairmont Flyover, could be built.

Wayne Ko, a Glendale traffic engineer, said the judge has not said when she will make her decision.

Construction at Sonora and Grandview avenues is slated to last through next August and both streets will be partially closed from the railroad tracks to Air Way during construction.


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