The City of Oceanside has been working through the lengthy process of constructing railroad crossing improvements to meet Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirements to establish a Quiet Zone along the North County Transit District coastal corridor (San Diego Subdivision) through Oceanside. In a Quiet Zone, active devices such as gates, signals, and railings warn vehicle and pedestrian traffic of on-coming trains in lieu of the routine sounding of their horns. Train horns will still be used in emergency situations. Cities desiring to establish a Quiet Zone are first required to mitigate the risk by updating crossings to specific standards to ensure safety.
After much work in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Amtrak, Metrolink and North County Transit District, the Quiet Zone was originally scheduled for establishment in June 2019. In July 2019, the FRA and CPUC inspected the improvements and requested additional work. The additional work was completed in early April 2020 and the Quiet Zone establishment was rescheduled. But a change in the FRA Risk Threshold across the five crossings in the proposed Quiet Zone had required a re-assessment of the work. This was due to changes over the life of the project, train speeds, train volumes, suicides and accidents.
In addition to changing risk, the incorporation of a pedestrian crossing and its planned extension across the SPRINTER tracks to the mainline platform at the south end of the NCTD Oceanside Transit Center (OTC) and the installation of a traffic signal at the Mission/Myers intersection have been added to the improvements to increase the effectiveness of the proposed quiet zone.
The City continues to work with these agencies toward an efficient, long lasting Quiet Zone, while also improving pedestrian and vehicle safety at five Oceanside crossings. At its October 7, 2020 meeting, the Council approved further funding to accommodate NCTD changes within the railroad right-of-way, minimize the sounding of horns, add a walkway to Mission Avenue and install the Mission/Myers traffic signal. This work is expected to be complete in the next several months. The Quiet Zone is anticipated to be established early 2021, but final approval is subject to the discretion of the Federal Railroad Administration. Future updates and further information is updated on the Project webpage.