By Brian CHERNICK
Glendale City Council and Metrolink celebrated on Jan. 25 the establishment of the city’s first three railroad “Quiet Zones” at the Sonora Avenue, Grandview Avenue and Flower Street crossings along San Fernando Road. The quiet zones went into effect Jan. 28 and will be on a 24-hour, seven days a week basis.
Ordinarily, trains that pass through intersections and crossings are required to sound their horns to alert drivers and pedestrians. Quiet zones bar trains from doing so in designated areas except in an emergency. The ordinance is expected to significantly reduce the amount of noise pollution throughout the neighborhoods that border the train tracks.
Joining Glendale Mayor Paula Devine at Pelanconi Park were city council member Ara Najarian, who sits as second vice-chair on the Metrolink board, Glendale’s director of Public Works Roubik Golanian, Metrolink CEO Art Leahy and board chair Andrew Kotyuk.
“I live way up in the hills and I can hear [the train horn],” Devine said. “So I can imagine the joy of those who live this area [having the quiet zone established].”
Devine gave thanks to the collaboration of the city’s public works department, rail authorities and community members for helping to establish the first quiet zone in Los Angeles County on a Metrolink-served line. Los Angeles now joins San Jacinto and Orange County, which previously established quiet zones along the same corridor.
Nearly 100 trains pass through Glendale daily and this is the most frequently traveled corridor in California. The limiting of train noises within the city will be a welcomed improvement to the community as it has been a recurring request by residents.
The ceremony came on the eve of the fatal 2005 Metrolink crash where a southbound Metrolink train collided with a vehicle that was intentionally abandoned on the tracks at the Chevy Chase Drive crossing in Glendale.
“The focus here is to stop collisions, stop fatalities, along railroad crossings,” Kotyuk said while congratulating Glendale on developing safer crossings through the city.
Efforts to establish quiet zones began in 2007 when the City of Glendale and Metrolink formed a joint operation to improve safety measures along the corridor. Measures including improved traffic lights, street lighting, medians and pedestrian gates were installed, which allowed the city to eventually file for quiet zone ordinances.
“These planned, measured and focused improvements not only created safer crossings at these three locations but also automatically qualified them to apply for a quiet zone,” Golanian said during his remarks.
The city plans to expand quiet zones to other crossings as soon as adequate safety measures are met and city filings are processed and approved.