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City Corner column: Why railroad quiet zones are not so quiet

By By Jennifer Sourdellia
Aug. 25, 2013 at 3:25 a.m.


Why does the train between Delmar Drive and Ben Jordan Street and around to the Main Street area keep blowing its horns even in a "Quiet Zone?" I am awakened at 3 a.m. with the hourly blasting of the train horns. I feel it isn't for safety but for annoyance.

The city has no control or authority to regulate train horns.

Although the train horns can be annoying and disruptive during the early morning hours, blowing the safety horns at railroad crossings outside of a quiet zone is required by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration. Unless requirements are met to create a quiet zone, train engineers are required to blow the safety horns at every railroad crossing. The approved sound level for train safety horns ranges between 96 and 100 decibels, as regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The City Council approved Victoria's first quiet zone for the railroad crossings at Ben Wilson Street and Delmar Drive in January, and it went into effect early this summer. The city is rebuilding John Stockbauer Drive between Business U.S. 59 and U.S. Highway 59. When this project is completed, the city will request an additional quiet zone at the John Stockbauer railroad crossing.

Because of the substantial equipment and construction costs for meeting "quiet zone" requirements, it was not possible to establish any other quiet zones.

My neighbors and I would like to host a neighborhood block party during the upcoming National Night Out. Would you provide some details about hosting a party and who I should contact to register the block party?

Absolutely. The Victoria Police Department invites the neighborhoods throughout the community to participate in the National Night Out program, and we are happy that you are interested in hosting a party.

National Night Out is held in neighborhoods all over the country to heighten community awareness about drug and crime prevention programs and to strengthen police-community relations.

This year's National Night Out will be Oct. 1. Now is the time to network with your neighbors and help plan activities and locations for National Night Out block parties and festivities. If you've had a party in the past, we hope you participate again this year. If this is your first year to participate, the Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit is available to help make your neighborhood block party a success. The deadline to register your neighborhood block party is 5 p.m. Sept. 18. Please call the Crime Prevention office at 361-485-3808 to register and assure that local police officers, firefighters and city officials stop by your party on National Night Out.

The Victoria Police Department also invites the community to the annual National Night Out kickoff party from noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Victoria Mall. There will be booths and live entertainment from various community groups. Businesses and organizations who would like a booth space can call 485-3808.

How is construction progressing on the red nine renovation at the Riverside Golf Course?

The grass is a little greener for golfers who enjoy playing at the city's municipal golf course at Riverside Park.

The red nine renovation to replace the greens on the final nine of the 27 holes at Riverside Golf Course is complete, and the new grass is almost entirely grown in. The newly renovated greens recently opened, and Riverside Golf Course now offers golfers an opportunity to play on championship-caliber greens, said Kevin Girt, director of golf operations at Riverside Golf Course.

Girt also said new bunkers are in place on the red nine. Riverside Golf Course is one of the best municipal courses in Texas, usually ranking in the top 10 year after year. To learn more about Riverside Golf Course and memberships, visit vpiariversidegolf.com or call 361-573-4521.

Do you have a question about the city of Victoria? Please submit your questions and comments about any city department to Jennifer Sourdellia in the Communications/Public Information Office by emailing jsourdellia@victoriatx.org or mailing to P.O. Box 1758, Victoria, TX 77902.

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