Silence is Golden - DelMar Quiet Zone

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Letters of Objection and Responses

Site under construction: two letters of objection have arrived. We DO NOT HAVE permission to post letters to the City of Del Mar, CA. Please contact the Del Mar City Clerk to secure a copy. Essentially, both letters raised safety and liability concerns. The quiet zone solution is in conformity with the Federal Railroad Act (FRA). Some believe installation of a horn in the intersection will increase safety. A premise of the investigatory and design process has been to assure that safety always trumps nuisance!make your donation...

Quieter Del Mar train horn will cost how much?

By: Jonathan Horn - The San Diego Union-Tribune

DEL MAR — A group of fundraisers that spent more than $17,000 for the North County Transit District to design a quieter train alert system for Del Mar were unpleasantly surprised last week when the expected price was nearly $200,000 higher than anticipated.

The Del Mar fundraisers are working toward installing a wayside horn train-alert system at the city’s lone Coast Boulevard crossing. They spent the money on the design phase in hopes that NCTD would return with a price lower than the $276,000 originally estimated. But the NCTD final estimate came in at $454,147, including $91,000 in administrative fees. The actual wayside horn equipment costs about $43,000, according to the estimate.

Alex Wiggins, a spokesman for NCTD, said the price is not final, and the district is still in discussions with Del Mar.

Hershell Price, one of the lead fundraisers, expressed surprise when told of the higher cost.

“It’s completely shocking to tell you the truth,” Price said. “We’re all very concerned.”

Del Mar residents living near the tracks have complained for years about multidirectional train blasts sounding well into the night. A wayside horn system would replace those blasts with much quieter train horn alerts coming from speakers at a crossing. The sound would be concentrated at the crossing.

Federal law requires a train’s horn must reach 96 to 110 decibels when it is at least 15 seconds from a crossing. A wayside horn system must reach 92 decibels 100 feet away.

For a perspective on that, a jet plane taking off registers at 120 decibels, while a lawn mower comes in at about 90, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

The original estimated cost included a 30 percent contingency for unforeseen costs. The fundraisers, who raised the $17,548 needed for the design, had hoped the study would produce a lower contingency since the transit district could have more specifics on the project. The latest price only includes a 7 percent contingency.

Fundraisers originally expected the price would be about $175,000. While the Del Mar City Council officially supports the project, it has said no city money can be used for the system.

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