Capdiamont\’s Weblog


PAC Guest: Noise assault of trains
Monday 28 Apr 2008, 10:19
Filed under: NCRA, Railroad, SMART

Another run for your lives issue. Noise. The amazing thing is highway 101, and all the streets, etc don’t seem to make any noise at all. Truck horns, even the ones using locomotive horns, doesn’t matter. Since SMART/NCRA won’t solve 101 traffic, forget it. Since solar won’t solve our energy problem in any significant way, forget it.

We need to quit thinking there will be any magic bullet that will solve our problems. Instead, by using multiple solutions, we can make things livable.

Think of it like wind energy, pessimists will tell you the wind doesn’t always blow. The optimists will find a solution. The solutions is although one wind turbine may not be generating power all the time, by adding a large number of turbines over our nation, the average power stabilizes. Same with Solar.

Now with noise, quiet zones can be implemented lowering the volume, and coverage. The rails can be welded, reducing joint noise. The ballast can be improved, to reduce the amount of noise transfered. 2nd it is amazing the amount of noise humans can ignore.

Published: Thursday, Apr 24, 2008

EDITOR: I attended the March 29 SMART train debate and take strong exception with Alfred Bulf’s conclusions (letter published in your April 17 edition). It’s fine for him to praise SMART. He lives in Sacramento and won’t have to bear the horrendous cost of those trains.

What cost? Far greater than the half-billion dollar price tag will be the noise that train air horns inflict on Sonoma County residents and property owners.

SMART plans 28 daily trains. NCRA plans 16 freight trains (both are their numbers). Saying “yes” to SMART pushes many of those freight trains into nighttime runs. That’s 44 trains a day — almost one every half hour — all day and all night. Each train must, by federal law, blast its air horn three times approaching each of the 61 road crossing in Sonoma County. That’s over 7,000 air horn blasts each day — almost 300 each and every hour, and each at between 120 and 144 decibels, about the same deafening screech as being 25 meters from a jet engine at full blast.

The train line runs straight up the densely populated spine of our county where this racket will have the greatest impact. At 120 feet, the train horn will be as loud as having a chain saw fired up four feet from your ear. At three-eighths of a mile, train horns are as loud as having a telephone dial tone on high jammed against your ear. Not offensive in the afternoon, but unacceptable at 2 a.m. At three-fourths of a mile, sound engineers say that the horn blasts will still be loud enough to disturb sleep for most people.

Check it out on a map. There are well over 100,000 of us (including many in Petaluma) living along that corridor and who will suffer from this noise assault so that 1,850 Sonoma County residents (that number comes from SMART’s own projections) can ride a train instead of taking Golden Gate Transit buses that are already available, quiet and running along the same corridor that SMART will use.

Even worse, SMART asks us to swallow its devastating racket when, by its own forecasts, SMART will not significantly reduce 101 commuter traffic jams. Three freight trains a day (pre-2000 levels) was fine. The never-ending din of 44 trains is not — especially when it won’t solve 101 traffic. And that is the bottom line.

Kendall Haven, Fulton

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[…] Three letters in PAC respond to Noise assault of trains Saturday 3 May 2008, 09:39 Filed under: NCRA, Railroad, SMART, Sonoma Original letter here. […]

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