According to Paul Simon, "Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance." But that’s not true. Some citizens in Albuquerque have been complaining for years about the noise of the train whistles that echo throughout the city. Recently, a group of citizens decided to do something about it. The group, consisting of former Alibi News Editor Tim McGivern, state representatives, the Downtown Action Team (DAT) and others, have initiated an effort to create a quiet zone within the city that would effect the 16 railroad junctions from the South Valley to the North Valley and through Downtown.
According to Luisa Casso, President and CEO of DAT, the initiative is currently in an evaluation stage, where the citizen group is looking at infrastructure changes that would need to take place to create the quiet zones. Namely, a certain type of gate would need to be installed at the intersections, which would serve the purpose of keeping people off the tracks, and would replace the audible signaling device. According to Casso, other cities have implemented quiet zones and installed these gates, which are federally tested and approved. Safety-wise, Casso says, “instead of looking at just Downtown we’re looking at the impact of the railroad on the entire city.”
Some state representatives, including Rep. Rick Miera, whose district is affected by the train whistles, are putting together a budget request they plan to take to the State Senate next year. Meanwhile, a public meeting on the issue will be held later this summer, with the date to be announced.
For those who do enjoy the sound of a train in the distance, savor it while you can.