It’s about to get a whole lot quieter in Fort Lauderdale. The city has received outstanding news regarding the Brightline quiet zone, an initiative to eliminate the use of train horns along the Florida East Coast Railway corridor in Broward County.
Late yesterday, the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization informed the city that construction work on the quiet zone has been completed.
The city issued a media statement this morning in which I said: "
We’re ecstatic about the news. We have waited a long time for the quiet zones. Their startup will significantly enhance the quality of life in our city. Train noise will be reduced and disruptions minimized. This was a complicated process, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as the necessary improvements were made along the rail line. We thank the MPO and Brightline for bringing the project to fruition, and we look forward to activating the quiet zone in the coming weeks.”
The quiet zone infrastructure project began in November 2016. According to federal regulations, if trains are not required to sound their horns when approaching railroad crossings, additional measures must be implemented to make the crossings as safe as possible.
Safety upgrades and railroad crossing improvements, including additional gate arms; upgraded warning devices; improved lighting; and new medians, curbs, and signage; have been installed at more than 20 locations along the FEC rail corridor in Broward County. In addition to the city of Fort Lauderdale, this 26-mile stretch of tracks includes portions of Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Dania Beach, Hollywood, and Hallandale Beach.
The MPO will now move forward with filing a Notice of Establishment with the Federal Railroad Administration so that the quiet zone can be implemented. The MPO expects the quiet zone to be activated at midnight on May 18. Once activated, train horns will be silenced except in emergencies or other threatening situations as determined by the train engineer.
In the city news release, I added: "With the implementation of the quiet zone right around the corner, safety at railroad crossings is more important than ever. We want to remind everyone to cross train tracks only at designated railroad crossings; obey all warning signs and signals; stay alert, avoid distractions, and be aware of your surroundings; and above all, when you see tracks, think trains! By working together, we can ensure the safety of motorists, pedestrians, and railway passengers.”