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Re: [EINPC] High Speed Rail

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  • SRud346067@aol.com
    In a message dated 11/30/00 10:15:19 PM Central Standard Time, mtanglim@aol.com writes:
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2000
    • 0 Attachment
      In a message dated 11/30/00 10:15:19 PM Central Standard Time,
      mtanglim@... writes:

      << Steve,

      Thank you for laying out some of these important issues.

      Frankly, I have been wondering whether it wouldn't be worth it to accept the
      high speed train in order to get improved road beds and crossing gates. Of
      course I am assuming that the gates would obviate the need for
      whistles/horns
      at all hours. Your message suggests that this is not the case, at least not
      under current law. But it's my understanding that with proper lobbying the
      city could require silence, given the gates. Not true?

      Let me give you what info I can...but please understand I am not an
      expert...just a concerned citizen with a small house near the right of way:

      The so-called "Quiet Zones" are part of federal leglislation not yet passed
      by congress (and, part of the problem with trains is federal control...no
      local options, to speak of). Once the legislation is passed...and this could
      take some time...it will be primarily a directive to all trains to blow their
      horns at all crossings, all the time. It willcontain a provision allowing
      for "Quiet Zones" if proper crossing guards, etc are in place. Of course,
      the railroads would not be required to pay for the crossing guards (this
      doesn't make a lot of sense to me...if I wanted to run a business which was
      considered 'dangerous' somehow, the government would not allow me to run that
      business unless I put in the proper safe-guards. But railroads get lots of
      little twists to logic in their favor. At any rate, the legislation passes
      and the city says okay to "Quiet Zones" and now has to pay for the crossing
      guards, etc. The HSR crossing guards and street closings would allow us to
      have those "Quiet Zones" without having to shellout money from the city. On
      the surface, this sounds pretty good. We get quiet zones and don't have to
      pay for the equipment.

      But wait a minute, We can have quiet zones (yes, we will have to pay for
      them) without haivng to allow twenty (20...lots of trains) to run through our
      neighborhoods...for no good reason (remember, these trains won't be headed
      downtown...they will simply loop in through residential areas and then loop
      back out again to a station (probably at the airport but perhaps at Hoepker
      Road). And the legislation to to quiet zones hasn't passed congress and,
      besides, it's primary legislation to require whistle blowing...

      Rod Kruenen, the Commissioner of Rails for Wisconsin, has said he will try to
      get a "quiet zone" test area for the city. He wants it on the west
      side...near his office and along the Shorewood Hills area. There has been no
      movement on this for several months. The Commish simply has better things to
      do. Besides, his solution to the noise problem is to simply close lots of
      streets.

      Additionally, suppose the crossing guards are in place and we decide to have
      a quiet zone...is there any guarantee that the Wisconsin and Southern will
      honor that zone?
      The answer is no. The DOT's head of harbors and rails, a Mr. Adams, says that
      the W&S woiuld not have to necessarily obey a quiet zone. In my opinion, the
      W&S has had over seven years in which to show some small amount of
      cooperation with the city regarding the noise problem...they have shown none.
      There is no reason to assume that they would cooperate under the HSR
      situation, either.

      And, on another topic, and contrary to what we are being told...if there are
      twenty passenger trains on these tracks, per day, the freight traffic is
      going to be pushed more and more into evening and early morning hours.

      Many cities have whistling blowing ordinances NOW...many actually enforce
      them...Madison can do this, too. Without destroying our neighborhoods. It
      will not be easy. But, with enough sustained pressure...from us, our city,
      the railroad commissioner"s office (and Rod says the horns don't help with
      safety), the W&S can be brought to the realization that we can all work
      together. This will not be easy...W&S has resisted all efforts to cooperate
      in the past.

      In short, the trade off...quiet for twenty passenger trains a day...is just
      too big. We can find another way to have peace and quiet.

      Diesal fumes: would the new trains be more efficient in this regard than
      the
      old ones? What exactly are the facts about diesal fumes from the new trains?

      The federal government, recognizing that deisel fumes are carcinogenic, has
      placed restrictions on semi-trucks, etc. They will eventually place these
      restrictions on locomotives but not for a long time and there is no
      indication that these restrictions will be in place when the HSR begins its
      operations (in late 2003, if the HS railers have their way). And no
      indication that any restrictions on deisel fumes that apply to railroads will
      be in place in the foreseeable future.

      Locomotives emit less deisel fumes because of the way they operate...one
      train equals a certain number of trucks off the highways. In general, this
      makes sense.
      However, the HS Railers think it is okay to run twenty of these carcinogenic
      belching locomotives through residential neighborhoods. This will
      concentrate those carcinogens in small areas along the rights of way. There
      is no environmental impact statement about what this will do... No study to
      show what these trains will do to our property values. None to show what
      effect dividing neighborhoods with fences and closed roads will have... We
      LIVE there...children LIVE there. There is an alternative to using the First
      Street Alignment for these HS trains.

      Remember, HSR is not going to take any traffic off Madison streets. It is
      not the solution to the noise problem. We can have HSR access without having
      these trains running through our neighborhoods, adversely affecting 4,800
      properties. Without the downtown station (which just isn't going to happen)
      there are no compelling reasons to bring these trains through neighborhoods.


      I hope you can help me with these details.

      Hope this helps...

      Thanks,

      Mary
      >>
    • Christopher Ott
      If I can jump in again here, I m still worried about this single-minded focus on trains as a source of problems. It s a little like focusing on the sprained
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 1, 2000
      • 0 Attachment
        If I can jump in again here, I'm still worried about this
        single-minded focus on trains as a source of problems. It's a little
        like focusing on the sprained ankle of someone with a
        life-threatening illness.

        Two things:

        - I'm concerned about the repeated assertion that the trains will not
        take "any" cars off the roads. If there's a convenient station or
        shuttle to the station, I'll walk to it. That's at least one car not
        on the road, and I suspect I'm not the only one. If you want to
        argue that rail won't take "many" cars off the road, OK, but let's
        not say "any."

        - Complaining about the government paying to upgrade the crossings
        seems like another case of missing the larger issue. The auto and
        airline industries get massive government subsidies for their
        infrastructure. If you want to take issue with that in general, OK,
        but don't do it selectively in the case of rail.

        I certainly don't want to see anyone's neighborhood harmed, and I
        think that we should do everything reasonably possible to avoid that.
        But I think we also need to look at the big picture, and from that
        angle, having intercity and commuter rail seems to me like it could
        be a huge benefit to all of us.

        Thanks,
        Chris Ott


        >In a message dated 11/30/00 10:15:19 PM Central Standard Time,
        >mtanglim@... writes:
        >
        ><< Steve,
        >
        > Thank you for laying out some of these important issues.
        >
        > Frankly, I have been wondering whether it wouldn't be worth it to accept the
        > high speed train in order to get improved road beds and crossing gates. Of
        > course I am assuming that the gates would obviate the need for
        >whistles/horns
        > at all hours. Your message suggests that this is not the case, at least not
        > under current law. But it's my understanding that with proper lobbying the
        > city could require silence, given the gates. Not true?
        >
        >Let me give you what info I can...but please understand I am not an
        >expert...just a concerned citizen with a small house near the right of way:
        >
        >The so-called "Quiet Zones" are part of federal leglislation not yet passed
        >by congress (and, part of the problem with trains is federal control...no
        >local options, to speak of). Once the legislation is passed...and this could
        >take some time...it will be primarily a directive to all trains to blow their
        >horns at all crossings, all the time. It willcontain a provision allowing
        >for "Quiet Zones" if proper crossing guards, etc are in place. Of course,
        >the railroads would not be required to pay for the crossing guards (this
        >doesn't make a lot of sense to me...if I wanted to run a business which was
        >considered 'dangerous' somehow, the government would not allow me to run that
        >business unless I put in the proper safe-guards. But railroads get lots of
        >little twists to logic in their favor. At any rate, the legislation passes
        >and the city says okay to "Quiet Zones" and now has to pay for the crossing
        >guards, etc. The HSR crossing guards and street closings would allow us to
        >have those "Quiet Zones" without having to shellout money from the city. On
        >the surface, this sounds pretty good. We get quiet zones and don't have to
        >pay for the equipment.
        >
        >But wait a minute, We can have quiet zones (yes, we will have to pay for
        >them) without haivng to allow twenty (20...lots of trains) to run through our
        >neighborhoods...for no good reason (remember, these trains won't be headed
        >downtown...they will simply loop in through residential areas and then loop
        >back out again to a station (probably at the airport but perhaps at Hoepker
        >Road). And the legislation to to quiet zones hasn't passed congress and,
        >besides, it's primary legislation to require whistle blowing...
        >
        >Rod Kruenen, the Commissioner of Rails for Wisconsin, has said he will try to
        >get a "quiet zone" test area for the city. He wants it on the west
        >side...near his office and along the Shorewood Hills area. There has been no
        >movement on this for several months. The Commish simply has better things to
        >do. Besides, his solution to the noise problem is to simply close lots of
        >streets.
        >
        >Additionally, suppose the crossing guards are in place and we decide to have
        >a quiet zone...is there any guarantee that the Wisconsin and Southern will
        >honor that zone?
        >The answer is no. The DOT's head of harbors and rails, a Mr. Adams, says that
        >the W&S woiuld not have to necessarily obey a quiet zone. In my opinion, the
        >W&S has had over seven years in which to show some small amount of
        >cooperation with the city regarding the noise problem...they have shown none.
        > There is no reason to assume that they would cooperate under the HSR
        >situation, either.
        >
        >And, on another topic, and contrary to what we are being told...if there are
        >twenty passenger trains on these tracks, per day, the freight traffic is
        >going to be pushed more and more into evening and early morning hours.
        >
        >Many cities have whistling blowing ordinances NOW...many actually enforce
        >them...Madison can do this, too. Without destroying our neighborhoods. It
        >will not be easy. But, with enough sustained pressure...from us, our city,
        >the railroad commissioner"s office (and Rod says the horns don't help with
        >safety), the W&S can be brought to the realization that we can all work
        >together. This will not be easy...W&S has resisted all efforts to cooperate
        >in the past.
        >
        >In short, the trade off...quiet for twenty passenger trains a day...is just
        >too big. We can find another way to have peace and quiet.
        >
        > Diesal fumes: would the new trains be more efficient in this regard than
        >the
        > old ones? What exactly are the facts about diesal fumes from the new trains?
        >
        >The federal government, recognizing that deisel fumes are carcinogenic, has
        >placed restrictions on semi-trucks, etc. They will eventually place these
        >restrictions on locomotives but not for a long time and there is no
        >indication that these restrictions will be in place when the HSR begins its
        >operations (in late 2003, if the HS railers have their way). And no
        >indication that any restrictions on deisel fumes that apply to railroads will
        >be in place in the foreseeable future.
        >
        >Locomotives emit less deisel fumes because of the way they operate...one
        >train equals a certain number of trucks off the highways. In general, this
        >makes sense.
        >However, the HS Railers think it is okay to run twenty of these carcinogenic
        >belching locomotives through residential neighborhoods. This will
        >concentrate those carcinogens in small areas along the rights of way. There
        >is no environmental impact statement about what this will do... No study to
        >show what these trains will do to our property values. None to show what
        >effect dividing neighborhoods with fences and closed roads will have... We
        >LIVE there...children LIVE there. There is an alternative to using the First
        >Street Alignment for these HS trains.
        >
        >Remember, HSR is not going to take any traffic off Madison streets. It is
        >not the solution to the noise problem. We can have HSR access without having
        >these trains running through our neighborhoods, adversely affecting 4,800
        >properties. Without the downtown station (which just isn't going to happen)
        >there are no compelling reasons to bring these trains through neighborhoods.
        >
        >
        > I hope you can help me with these details.
        >
        >Hope this helps...
        >
        > Thanks,
        >
        > Mary
        > >>
        >
        >
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