Glendale on track to create ‘quiet zone’ for trains passing through city

The 90 or so trains passing through Glendale every day may soon have to hold off on sounding their horns. Local officials want to implement a “quiet zone” along the tracks this year.

For years, residents in the Pelanconi Estates neighborhood near the Metrolink tracks on San Fernando Road have complained of the incessant honking.

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The City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to install a final series of improvements at three local rail crossings the Federal Railroad Administration requires to establish a quiet zone. With heightened safety infrastructure in place, engineers will not have to honk as often to let others know they’re coming.

Installing fences and railing, in addition to signage and striping, were looped into a $1.5 million package that includes new traffic lights in other parts of the city.

The three crossings slated for the improvements are where San Fernando Road meets Flower Street and Sonora and Grandview avenues.

The added improvements follow a much larger project where quad gates — required by the federal agency — were installed to keep cars and pedestrians off the tracks.

After Glendale finishes its improvements, Metrolink will install “backflashers,” a type of warning light, Public Works Director Roubik Golanian said.

Then the work will begin to get the quiet-zone approvals.

“I’m hoping that sometime this year we will have our first set of crossings that will be considered as quiet zones for the engineers, who operate the trains, so they don’t have to sound their horns any longer,” Golanian said.

Oncoming trains have to sound their horns in a pattern that’s “two longs, one short, and one long” each time they approach a railroad crossing, said Scott Johnson, a Metrolink spokesman.

Hearing about 90 trains a day pass her home is a way of life for Jolene Taylor, who’s pushed for a quiet zone for several years.

“That’s fantastic news, though I remain cautiously optimistic that it will be in 2016,” Taylor said.

While she has gotten used to the horns, there are times when they interrupt conversations and the TV.

“You just learn to adapt, but the train horns are getting longer every day,” Taylor said.

Mayor Ara Najarian has pushed for a quiet zone as well, citing that train horns have been blown for 100 years and affect residents well beyond Pelanconi.

“We need to do this as soon as possible to enjoy some peace and quiet,” he said. “We’ve all been waiting for such a long time.”


Arin Mikailian,

Twitter: @ArinMikailian