Railroad Quiet Zones
In response to concerns expressed by community members regarding the impacts of train horn noise, city staff is designing the implementation of several “quiet zones” for railroad crossings impacting Boulder. These efforts are in coordination with Boulder County and other local transportation agencies to create quiet zones to improve the safety and quality of life for surrounding residences, businesses and travelers in the Boulder area.
Quiet zones are railroad crossings that include physical infrastructure and warning systems so that train engineers are not required to sound the train horn at the crossing.
Funding to design and construct the improvements comes from a $1 million grant from the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) with a local match of $200,000 from the city transportation fund.
The city will continue to pursue other funding opportunities for any remaining locations in conjunction with Boulder County and adjacent municipalities.
Anticipated Timeline to establish Quiet Zones at the City of Boulder Locations
The City of Boulder's plans to establish quiet zones at 47th St, Valmont Road, Pearl Parkway, 55th St (north of Arapahoe Ave) and 63rd St (north of Arapahoe Ave) are underway.
- The designs have been completed and a contractor has been hired to constructed the quiet zone roadway improvements at the 47th Street and 63rd Street (north of Arapahoe) crossings. Roadway work is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2019. Please note that the roadway and railroad work to establish a quiet zone at the Valmont Road crossing was recently completed as part of a separate city capital improvements project.
- The Pearl Parkway, 47th Street and 55th Street (north of Arapahoe Ave) railroad crossings will receive improvements from BNSF Railroad, which owns the right-of-way at railroad crossings. BNSF is finalizing work plans for the Pearl Parkway crossing and this webpage will be updated with that schedule when we are notified.
- Once the improvements are made to the locations, the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) and the Colorado PUC (Public Utilities Commission) complete final review and approvals and the locations are established and recognized as Quiet Zones. We are anticipating that this will occur in 2020.
- When the locations are established as Quiet Zones, the train engineers are not required to sound the train horn at the crossing so residents, businesses and visitors in the surrounding areas should expected less or no train horn noise. Please note that the train engineer still has the authority to sound the horn if there is an unsafe condition exists.
For more information about quiet zone projects in Boulder County, including the 63rd St at the Diagonal Highway location, please contact Andrew Barth at the Boulder County Department of Transportation at [email protected]
Background on the Quiet Zone Project Prioritization
In collaboration with Boulder County and the Federal Railroad Administration, the city conducted a public engagement process with the community to inform a prioritization and phasing plan for implementation. Projects will be prioritized as follows:
- 47th St.
- Valmont Road
- Pearl Parkway
- 63rd St. at the Diagonal Highway
- 55th St. north of Arapahoe
- 63rd St. north of Arapahoe
The community provided input on a number of factors, including the number of people living and working within 0.5 miles of the railroad crossings, type and proximity of adjacent land uses (existing and /or planned), as well as street characteristics, safety, and costs for installation, plus any potential ongoing maintenance responsibilities.
View the quiet zones brochure for a general overview of the project. To view the previous two open house presentation materials and boards, please see the links below.
Feb. 23, 2017, Open House
Dec. 15, 2016, Open House
How to stay updated
This webpage will be updated as the projects progress.
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