Raleigh, N.C. — Downtown Raleigh residents are again asking the city to create "quiet zones" that would minimize train noise at the four railroad crossings in the western part of downtown, but city leaders say they have no immediate plans to do so.
The city studied the issue in 2009, and looked at installing new crossing equipment that would allow trains to pass without sounding the horn. But that solution would cost between $1 million and $3 million, and Mike Kennon, manager of Raleigh transportation operations, said it's unlikely to happen.
"Because of all the unknowns with Union Station and the high-speed rail, we've not moved forward with the project," Kennon said.
Plans for a federally funded high-speed rail from Washington, D.C., to Charlotte would make the new crossing equipment obsolete. There's no timeline, however, on the high-speed rail project's completion, Kennon said. The city and state Department of Transportation also plan to build a new passenger train station – Raleigh Union Station – on West Martin Street.
Jim Belt, president of the Downtown Living Advocates, said he and other downtown residents have complained to the city about the horns, and believe now is the time to act.
"People are moving in by the thousands, so that's a lot more people this will be an issue to," Belt said.
Kennon said city leaders are sympathetic to the noise complaints.
"But we feel like we need to spend our tax dollars wisely," he said.