A Tipp City citizens committee is in the midst of learning more about railroad quiet zones and if one could benefit the community.
The city council last year discussed quiet zones in a couple of work sessions before turning the task of exploring options to the citizens committee.
Such committees are asked to explore the quiet zone concept and gather community input to remove politics from the review process as much as possible, City Manager Tim Eggleston said.
The Federal Railroad Administration provides the opportunity for local communities to establish quiet zones, he said.
The zones are areas where trains don’t routinely blow their horns, except in emergencies. Public highway crossings in the zone must have additional safety measures installed, such as four-quadrant gates or medians.
The federal agency must approve any quiet zone.
“Our job is to see what the community wants and to decide whether or not the community would like a quiet zone … what the pros and cons are of a quiet zone,” said James Trzeciak, committee chairman, at a recent meeting.
The process doesn’t have a set time frame, but communities contacted by the city while gathering initial information said it can take a year or two, Eggleston said.
“That is not just meetings. It is working with the entities, the railroad and getting your ducks in a row,” he told the committee.
Some efforts have taken years longer, he said.
Communities working on or that already have quiet zones include Springfield, Tiffin and Glendale.
“It is becoming very popular to have quiet zones,” Eggleston said. “Every community is different … The whole process is to get everyone involved.”
The process includes a public hearing on whether a quiet zone is needed.
At a January meeting, the committee reviewed each crossing in the city limits and options for possible changes from closings to additional gates. The police department has been conducting traffic counts at the eight crossings in the city.
The committee plans to meet with a state railroad administration representative at one of its future meetings.
The committee will make attempts in the near future to obtain community feedback, including via social media, members said.
The committee scheduled its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Government Center.