Oak Lawn Trains Abide “Quiet Zone”
December 31, 2010
By Justyna Kruk
Oak Lawn residents can breathe a sigh of relief as the long-awaited quiet zone near the Metra train station has finally taken effect.
Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) was joined by Oak Lawn Mayor Dave Heilmann as well as officials from the Federal Railroad Administration on Dec. 23 to announce the completion of a quiet zone that prevents trains from sounding their horns in Oak Lawn on the Norfolk Southern/Southwest Service line.
This includes the crossings at Cicero Avenue, 95th Street, Kilbourn Avenue, Cook Avenue, 54th Avenue and Central Avenue.
“This was a process that took a little bit of time but it is a process that must be gone through,” said Lipinski.
For reasons of safety, the trains need to blow their horns as they come up to any crossings to ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians, Lipinski explained.
The Federal Railroad Administration requires locomotives to sound their horns at public highway-rail grade crossings but communities that meet the required safety criteria can establish quiet zones where trains need not use their horns.
Heilmann spoke of his childhood and said houses several blocks from the train station are affected by the noise.
“Oak Lawn is fortunate enough to get additional Metra service. I’m one of those commuters and we enjoy it and we are thankful for it, but with that comes more train horns,” he said.
Heilemann thanked everyone involved, calling the process a nice combined effort.
Federal Railroad Administrator Mike Long concluded the press conference by reiterating the importance of railroad safety.
“This has not been an easy process, but there is a reason for that,” he said. “The horns are there to protect the citizens of Oak Lawn, the drivers and the pedestrians, so we want to make sure it is done right.”
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