Tampa looking into quiet zone for trains - WNCN: News, Weather

Tampa looking into quiet zone for trains

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As the city of Tampa tries to attract more people to live downtown, a quality of life issue is blocking the way for some. As the city of Tampa tries to attract more people to live downtown, a quality of life issue is blocking the way for some.
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

As the city of Tampa tries to attract more people to live downtown, a quality of life issue is blocking the way for some.

Trains lumbering through downtown Tampa, sometimes at 1AM and 3 AM in the morning are required to sound their horns when they cross intersections.

There are multiple street crossings in the downtown area and downtown residents are complaining the blasts from the train horns are annoying.

As the trains move through South Tampa, the horn blasts affect thousands of residents.

Train horns are required by Federal authorities, but can exceed 110 decibels. That's louder than the sound of a commercial jet taking off or the sound of a jackhammer.

Tampa Attorney Scott Weber says he is considering selling his South Tampa home because it's too close to the train tracks and too loud when the trains go by.

There are a number of YouTube videos posted by downtown Tampa residents showing the trains slowly moving through downtown and sounding their horns.

The residents who have posted these videos are not happy about the sound.

"Sometimes late at night it can be really loud and obnoxious," Michael Bennett who lives in a downtown apartment building.

The City of Lakeland established a quiet zone for trains that took affect on June 7, 2014.

The quiet zone impacts six rail crossings and establishes an area where trains don't blow their horns.

A city administrator says Lakeland has been looking into a quiet zone for years, but original projections estimated it would cost more than two million dollars to make needed changes to the rail crossings.

Recently CSX rail made safety improvements to it's tracks in Lakeland and the changes needed for the quiet zone were included in that project.

As a result of the CSX improvements, the City of Lakeland did not have to pay for the changes.

The City of Clearwater also considered a quiet zone for it's train tracks after numerous complaints.

A spokesperson says the city has ruled out the quiet zone for now, due to the excessive cost associated with the project.

Jean Duncan is the transportation manager for the city of Tampa and says the city is just beginning the process of studying the issue.

Duncan says the city will have to demonstrate to the Federal Government rail crossings can be made safe, without the warning blasts from the trains.

"Which basically means more gates, possibly median blockages, possibly road closures, things that demonstrate safety in lieu of the horn blowing, we have to demonstrate that we have a way to do that, we have a way to pay for it," said Duncan.

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