Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have." - Margaret Mead

How appropriate and somewhat ironic that a freight train’s blasting horn disrupts the peaceful air as I sit down to begin this column. It’s the noon train noisily rambling through. The length and depth of the blast intensifies as it approaches the G & Kettner intersection, audaciously calling out, “I am here!”

On the 1st of April 2005, all locomotives are required to sound a horn sequence of two longs, one short, and one long starting at least 15 seconds, but no more than 20 seconds before reaching the grade crossing. The horn sound will be a minimum of 96 dB(A) and no louder than 110 dB(A) measuring 100 feet in front of the locomotive and 15 feet above the rail.

If you thought it was noisy before, just you wait; you haven’t heard anything yet!

Centre City Development Corporation recently hired consultants to perform an inventory detailing the necessary improvements needed for the 13 intersections where freight trains pass through our community. Once the required analysis is complete, work to modify the intersections can begin. Preliminary findings report there are several improvements to ensure Quiet Zone approval.

The biggest hurdle, however, is the buy in from all the stakeholders. Don’t expect the application to be submitted anytime soon.

the newest accessory fad? Will deep bags under our eyes from lack of sleep be our newest look? Or, will we need to pack our bags for an extended holiday away from our homes? Just how long will it take to quiet the blast?

I’m curious…When will the blast be in the past?

Several of our fellow Downtowners are expressive about the community’s need for action against the blasts and hopeful that a solution can be reached.

The speed of the train and our excellent low accident record, coupled with the CPUC’s understanding of our plight, makes Wayne Metlitz (Parkloft) believe a stamp of approval will be forthcoming sooner than later.

“ We need silence; it’s golden.” – Bill Bufalino (Watermark)

Bob Goldbaum (Marina Park) feels it can’t happen soon enough.

Grady Anderson (Watermark) wonders why the train needs to stop on the tracks. The screeching noise when it stops and the banging of freight cars when it starts moving is maddening.

Why do they need to blast the horn? It’s not difficult knowing a train is approaching during the early morning hours. It’s quiet outside, the gates come down and bells flash. - Lindsay Skinner (Archstone)

Sam Bozzette (Park Place) asks why the sensors to lower the gates can’t be removed from the trolley tracks? Lowered gates and ringing bells aren’t necessary when the trolley is stopped at a station.

A few caring people are needed to change our world. Go to the “City News - Hot Topics” page for what you can do. - December 2004

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