SMART – Quiet Zone and Financial Update

Many hundreds of San Rafael and Novato residents stand to be impacted or significantly impacted by 100 dB SMART Train horns that will commence at around 5:45am every weekday. Most of these residents remain unaware. Test soundings of horns along the line can be heard “loud and clear” 1 1/2 miles away. Over 390 cities have implemented “Quiet Zones”. These require not insignificant expenditure – millions by the train operator, possibly tens of thousands by cities – and that cities apply to the Federal Railroad Administration for a Quiet Zone. Quiet Zones remove trains obligations to blow their horns for 15-20 seconds as they approach railroad crossings. San Rafael has sufficient railroad crossings that this means the train will be sounding it’s horn near continuously. There will be 22 trains per day concentrated to morning and evening peaks. Even though Quiet Zones eliminate these horns  considerable noise will remain: The train is required to blow it’s horn when departing each station  (E.g. Civic Center) Bells will ring at each crossing as crossing arms go up or down The diesel engine and wheels will make noise San Rafael Quiet Zone Update 1) In a July presentation SMART made to Sonoma County Alliance, it stated the following which is concerning and might signal a backtrack on Quiet Zones: If the FRA or CPUC require additional capital outlays as part of a jurisdiction’s QZ application, those expenditures are not covered by SMART. 2) A specific cost that we know is part of the Quiet Zone process is the “diagnostics” that need to be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Nadar Mansourian,...