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Bedford leaders say quiet zones are slow process
August 9, 2007
by Emily Canning-Dean
Bedford -- City officials say that a recent railroad crossing accident might slow the city's process of establishing quiet zones, but they claim the process wasn't going very quickly anyway.
There were no injuries when a Norfolk and Southern train struck a Valley View woman's car July 22 at the West Grace Street railroad crossing, but the car was not as lucky.
Police said the woman, 48, was driving eastbound on West Grace Street at about 8:10 p.m. She told police she saw the lights at the crossing start to flash and she attempted to stop, but was unable to do so.
She said she was unable to back up because the gate had gone down behind her. She exited the vehicle and walked away from it as the vehicle started to roll onto the tracks. Police said the train, which was traveling northbound, struck the car at about 15 miles per hour.
The car was totaled and there was no damage to the train.
"This accident will probably put up some red flags," said City Manager Bob Reid. "But the quiet zone process is already moving at glacial speed."
Reid said the city wants to make the railroad crossings at West Grace Street and West Glendale Avenue into quiet zones, which means trains would not be required to sound their horns when approaching the crossings although they can still do so if they wish.
He said the city has been in communication with the Federal Rail Administration for several years.
"We communicated with FRA officials a year ago and they told us we needed to add barriers so vehicles could not drive around the railroad gates," Reid said. "We added $16,000 worth of barriers, but then the FRA decided there should be gates between the two sets of tracks. We asked them for the specifics, but they still have not gotten back to us."
Reid said he will be in touch with the FRA again during the next four to six weeks.
"If we don't get a response soon, we might have to explore other avenues to establish quiet zones," Reid said.
Reid said there is only one quiet zone in Ohio -- a crossing in Moraine, a community near Dayton.
Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3166
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