COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- What began as a one-woman crusade by an Eagle Creek homeowner has ended up with a fifth quiet-zone crossing at 96th Street and Highway 2 in Commerce City.
“I began calling City Hall, the council, the mayor and up and up the ladder, and my complaints actually got heard,” said Dianna Ayala. “We made noise and actually were heard by lawmakers in Washington. This is amazing what we have done in the past four years.”
What the neighbors, who were tired of being awakened in the middle of the night by loud horns, did was ‘shake the trees’ enough to get congressmen Mark Udall, Ed Perlmutter and Michael Bennet to meet with the Federal Rail Administration to come up with a way to have train engineers, who are required to use a series of blast to warn motorists and pedestrians about approaching trains, to institute quiet zones. These zones would use automated horns instead of horns on trains.
“We cut red tape and made things happen with the help of the FRA," said Udall. "Now we hope to put these quite zones up in more than 100 other cities around the nation, where neighborhoods are also facing noise pollution from loud train horns."
By law, engineers must begin to sound train horns at least 15 seconds and no more than 20 seconds in advance of grade crossings. Train horns must be sounded in a standardized pattern of two-long, one-short and one-long blast.
The maximum volume level for the train horn is 110 decibels, which is a new requirement. The minimum sound level remains 96 decibels.