City Council Tuesday night inched forward on a multi-million project to quiet the noise made by trains as they barrel through Longmont.
Councilors — without comment — approved spending $5,900 to buy a 234-square-foot piece of a larger parcel located at 841 Baker Street. The property — owned by James David Fausset — is at the southeast corner of Ninth Avenue and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe crossing.
The Fausset parcel is needed to establish at least one of the 17 “quiet zones” planned by the city. Quiet zones are a set of structural improvements made by the city at railroad crossings to prevent trains from sounding their horns when they enter certain railroad crossings in urban areas. Quiet zones can be established if certain safety requirements are met.
“While the improvements are costly, the benefit includes elimination of the horn noise, particularly in residential areas,” according to a city of Longmont staff report to the city council.
Train horn noise affects the livability of residential areas in neighborhoods closer to the railroad tracks, the staff report states. Concerns have also been raised by adjacent property owners of health impacts based on the loud noise from train horns and the increasing number of trains.
The city, in June 2020, was awarded a grant award from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration, or FRA, of up to $4 million to implement quiet zones in Longmont. The grant will provide funding for quiet zones at 14 railroad crossings in Longmont with the city providing matching funds, the staff report states.
There are a total of 17 BNSF roadway crossings in Longmont. The city will complete improvements to the remaining three crossings as separate capital improvement projects, the city states.
Improvements will begin this year and will include the widening of the sidewalk at the southeast corner of the Ninth Avenue intersection to allow for the installation of new gate arms, the city said.