NIMBYS - Your Thoughts?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
889
When I was a grad student, I lived in Somerville Massachusetts a block away from where they were building the Red Line MBTA extension. I would cheerfully have traded the sound of train horns for the blasting and digging that extended over much of my three year sojourn there. (And I never did get to ride the completed line, though I planned to do so just for fun during a business trip to Boston planned for this spring, which obviously COVID obliterated.)
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,877
Location
Gator Country Florida
My wife grew up in a house that had a rail line running about 75' behind her bedroom window. The house is only 3 houses from the road with the crossing. Her Dad was born on that land and had lived there all his life (he still does) and they hardly noticed the train.

It is now part of the "rails-to-trails" program and the dog barks at the frequent passage of bike riders and hikers more than they ever did at the trains.

The funny part is, some of those who complain the loudest about the train horns/whistles at the crossing complain just as much when they are "fixed" so that people can no longer "run the gate" and the train no longer needs to make a sound.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
3,207
Location
Baltimore. MD
We live about a mile or so from the nearest train tracks. CSX (former Western Maryland) freight line, plus the Baltimore Metro parallel. Occasionally we hear the trains and the crossing horns. It seems to be related to atmospheric conditions. It's not really that much of a bother, and the traffic from the arterial street a block a away makes more noise, fortunately mostly blocked by apartment houses along the arterial.

I've also stayed at on-site airport hotels. Amazing, you can hardly hear any noise. Thus, it must be possible to sound-proof at any level you want. Perhaps the people who are "coming to the nuisance" should be suing the developers, who built houses with inadequate soundproofing, rather than the airport, which was there before the house was built.
 

bms

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
464
Location
Cleveland
NIBMYs normally fight against the very fire station that would put out the flames at their own house. I never understood why people think they have a right to control the properties near them. I bought the property I own and would be mad if someone comes into that area, but I don't deserve any control over the property next door because it isn't my property.
 

Siegmund

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
277
Location
northwestern Montana
I can only speak for myself but that’s not what I mean at all when I support the 750 mile rule.

Amtrak’s regular federal funding should only cover long distance trains. Corridors should be another funding source. Federal money can go to it, but it should be separate from the national fund.
I agree that, in spirit, national-network funding should not be diverted to corridor service.

But given the difficulty in establishing multi-state corridors, I would prefer to see some criterion like "serves 3+ states, or travels 500+ miles." The first clause would allow federal help if necessary in getting medium-length corridors started - one additional Chicago-Cincinnati or Chicago-Kansas City frequency, for example. The wording of the second clause can be tweaked according to whether you think San Antonio-New Orleans and Sacramento-LA should be allowable; substitute "500 miles and 2 states" to block within-California service, for instance.
 

WWW

Service Attendant
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
184
Location
MSP
I don't hear any whistles. Just horns once in a while. And I'm sitting on the train.
Solution void the liability issues with "NO TRAIN HORN" ! Still have the flashing lights signs silent visual reminders !
But there will still be idiots ignoring the safety factors.
Hard to explain in a court hitting the 97th car of a 115 car train racing to beat it to the crossing !

Yet even in the silent mode trains make rumbling thunderous pounding on the earths surface transmitting
these shock waves sometimes miles away from the train - think of ole times putting an ear to the rail - but
don't wait for the train to come - then the engineer may have to sound the horn to get your attention !

Have no sympathy for those developers and buyers building next to an existing rail or airport facility.
Eventually upgrading will happen and it is some of the time in the interests of safety and community quietness!
But building next to tracks and airport runways is not going to make things go away - what are people thinking of ?
 

ehbowen

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,443
Location
Houston, Texas
Ask anyone in the aviation community and they will tell you that the infrastructure hasn’t come close to increasing with demand. I know it’s fashionable to hate on the airlines, but our system‘s capacity is antiquated and strained in many cities.

I’m all for money being allocated to both forms of transportation. It’s shouldn’t be a competition. If you foster a competitive attitude, trains are bound to be on the losing side.
Grounded (medical) General Aviation pilot here...and at least in major metropolitan areas, GA airports are every bit as endangered as passenger trains. Where is the next generation of pilots going to come from?
 

ehbowen

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,443
Location
Houston, Texas
You know those whistles can be annoying at 2 AM.

Isn't there a way to petition the authorities to make them stop?
For thirteen years I lived one house away from a major branch line (UP/GH&H Houston to Galveston). I would sleep right through the train horns...except for one (expletive deleted) misbegotten son of a (censored) who would sound a continuous blast of his horn, all the way through our residential neighborhood, several times a week and almost always at two in the morning.

It really made me wish that I owned a high-powered rifle....👿
 

tgstubbs1

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
385
Solution void the liability issues with "NO TRAIN HORN" ! Still have the flashing lights signs silent visual reminders
I agree. Why don't trains take a clue from law enforcement/ambulance modern super bright flashing LED lights might alert more drivers than horns.

After all, it's legal for deaf people to drive, but not blind people. Plus kids partying at night have those monster stereo systems that probably drown out the horn anyway.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,610
Location
Palm Beach County
Grade crossings are such a potentially dangerous place, that I believe that every means available, including bright lights and loud horns should be employed to get the attention of unobservant motorists. Bright lights alone may be of little use, if a motorist is distracted by something, or partially blinded driving into a low sun.

The only 'sure' way of eliminating the danger, is to completely separate the grades of the road and rails.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
28,388
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Ha! Tell that to overbearing HOA's (Home Owner's Association's)...;)
I suppose you may be displeased with overbearing zoning laws that keep a garbage dump away from your property too then? :D

I agree. Why don't trains take a clue from law enforcement/ambulance modern super bright flashing LED lights might alert more drivers than horns.
Trains being inanimate things don't actually do anything by themselves. 🤷‍♂️ It is FRA rules that govern what happens at grade crossings and FRA provides the exact rules to follow to remove the horn requirement at a grade crossing.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,120
Ha! Tell that to overbearing HOA's (Home Owner's Association's)...;)
When you buy a house, condo or townhouse, you know that you are joining an HOA and agree to the rules. It's no different than the airport or tracks - they were there before you were and if you don't like living by community rules, don't live in that community.

I live in a townhouse in an HOA and have fought with the association at times and have been president at times. But we moved in here with open eyes and recognize that we agree that the community rules and we can always move or run for the board if we don't like things.

While president or just a board member, my attitude was always "how can we accommodate the request if possible" rather then just saying "no".

When the association voted to oppose a rezone to allow a "moderate income" development nearby, I totally disagreed with them as they would not be that close (about 1/4 mile from our closest edge to their closest edge and over the hill) but I was outvoted. That's what I gave up by allowing the majority of owners to decide even if they were bigoted. We don't always get what we want.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,539
Location
Oregon Coast
And for those of us who need to travel for hours so we can be at a place where trains roar through... we can only wish for the sound of the train horn... in fact, when I am in a train town I try to time it so that I arrive at the crossing as the gate is closing... to have a front row seat. Even more rare is a stopping where you can see an actual passenger train rush through. ;)

24010833-amtrak-passenger-train-passing-level-crossing-at-deland-florida-usa.jpg
 

tgstubbs1

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
385
Grade crossings are such a potentially dangerous place, that I believe that every means available, including bright lights and loud horns should be employed to get the attention of unobservant motorists. Bright lights alone may be of little use, if a motorist is distracted by something, or partially blinded driving into a low sun.

The only 'sure' way of eliminating the danger, is to completely separate the grades of the road and rails.
I should add that horns are much more acceptable (to me) during daylight hours.
 

ehbowen

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,443
Location
Houston, Texas
I should add that horns are much more acceptable (to me) during daylight hours.
I'm fine with them at night as long as the engineer sticks to the standard long-long-short-long whistle sequence; my subconscious registers that as "all conditions normal." But the engineer I referenced above who sounded the continuous blasts...he woke me (and the whole neighborhood) up every time. Which I'm sure was his intention.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,610
Location
Palm Beach County
When you buy a house, condo or townhouse, you know that you are joining an HOA and agree to the rules. It's no different than the airport or tracks - they were there before you were and if you don't like living by community rules, don't live in that community.

I live in a townhouse in an HOA and have fought with the association at times and have been president at times. But we moved in here with open eyes and recognize that we agree that the community rules and we can always move or run for the board if we don't like things.

While president or just a board member, my attitude was always "how can we accommodate the request if possible" rather then just saying "no".

When the association voted to oppose a rezone to allow a "moderate income" development nearby, I totally disagreed with them as they would not be that close (about 1/4 mile from our closest edge to their closest edge and over the hill) but I was outvoted. That's what I gave up by allowing the majority of owners to decide even if they were bigoted. We don't always get what we want.
That is true...but...if the regulations are changed, as by an HOA taking over control from the original developer, from what you thought you were buying into, or subsequent changes by new people moving in, and taking control of the board, with similar results...your only option is to take it, or leave it, as in moving out, often resulting in a loss financial or otherwise for you. Too bad, eh?

Live and learn....I won't buy into any HOA community in the future...
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
28,388
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
That is not quite the same thing, as ruling on which shade of grey paint you may paint your house...
But the point is, you knew that or even if you didn't you ought to have known that since the HOA bylaws were part of your deed by refernce, and you also ought to have known that the HOA Board gets to decide how things evolve. There are both pluses and minuses to it. Balancing out whether the exact shade of grey is more important than doing something about someone trying open a car repair shop at his home next door is of course an individual's decision to make when they buy a property. 🤷‍♂️
 

tgstubbs1

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
385
I'm fine with them at night as long as the engineer sticks to the standard long-long-short-long whistle sequence; my subconscious registers that as "all conditions normal." But the engineer I referenced above who sounded the continuous blasts...he woke me (and the whole neighborhood) up every time. Which I'm sure was his intention.
I lived near an area where there were numerous unmarked crossings so just laying on the horn was probably an energy saving strategy.

It surely depends on how close you are.

I don't see the point in a deserted industrial area in the middle of the night.
 

Siegmund

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
277
Location
northwestern Montana
Without getting into the politics of establishing no-horn zones... I'll just observe that at night, it is quite a bit harder to spot a train / distinguish a train headlight from a car headlight or streetlight, than it is in the daytime. If that using the horn at a crossing is needed at all, it is probably more important, not less, to use it at night.
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
705
My mom has a friend who lives with the BNSF tracks the San Joaquin runs on. After a day or two there, you stop noticing the trains going by. I can speak from experience.
 

John Santos

Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
164
Getaway trains never caught on for some reason.
This is almost on-topic... My office is two blocks away from the Minuteman Bike Path, which was a commuter rail line closed in early 1978 and ultimately converted to one of the most popular and successful bicycle paths in the US.

It took about 20 years to get the necessary approvals, mostly due to NIMBY opposition. There were many many letters in the local papers in which people feared increased crime, due to "those people" (i.e. Black people) who would rob their houses and use "Getaway bikes" to abscond with the loot. Of course, this never happened, and after it finally got built, it significantly raised property values of houses with easy access. The real estate ads now always list "bike path" as a plus for any property anywhere near the path.
 

WWW

Service Attendant
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
184
Location
MSP
Regarding those flashing lights at the crossing - a serious upgrade would perhaps fix the inattention.
F-L-A-S-H-I-N-G - - - S-T-R-O-B-E - - - L-E-D lights as previously mentioned used on emergency vehicle.
This being the season for putting up lights on the trees - houses and many other places -
the closer the train gets to the crossing the sequence of flashing gets more rapid and perhaps brighter.
There are home security proximity sensors - as a vehicle gets closer to the crossing - the sensors could
kick in with a focused beam to the roadway with intense strobe lighting.
These lights could easily cost a lot less than the existing incandescent bulb or compact fluorescent.
A small video camera could record the crossing action like police body cameras fixing the blame where
it is almost always the fault of the motorist for the inattention.
Would not need all the fancy camera lighting action at rural crossings - only at major city crossings with
a history of collisions.
The locomotives could also have better warning lighting than the one headlight and 2 alternating flashing
bumper lights. When the train activates the crossing lights a LED bar on the locomotive would start flashing.
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,877
Location
Gator Country Florida
The flashing lights could be converted to hi-vis flashing LEDS. The current height of the flashing lights was designed for a rider on horseback. That height has never been adjusted for the height of a driver in a car. Add a second set of lights a bit lower while upgrading to flashing LEDS.

Also, extend the crossing arms to extend all the way across all lanes in all directions at the crossings so people can't drive around the ends to beat the train.
 
Top