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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.

We're excited to announce that roadway work at both the 47th Street and 63rd Street (north of Arapahoe) railroad crossings will begin soon! Roadway work includes street infrastructure that allows a railway crossing to become Quiet Zone-eligible. Completion of this roadway work is the first important step in the Quiet Zone establishment process. 

To view construction updates in real time, bookmark our Cone Zones page .

Anticipated Timelines for Establishing Quiet Zones at the City of Boulder Locations

The City of Boulder's plans to establish quiet zones at 47th Street, Valmont Road, Pearl Parkway, 55th Street (north of Arapahoe Avenue) and 63rd Street (north of Arapahoe Avenue) are underway. 

Quiet Zones roadway work at 47th Street will begin Monday, July 22  and last for approximately one week to a week and a half. Roadway work includes extension of the south median, striping and signage installation (such as "No Train Horn" signs).

Impacts (during off peak hours from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.) include a single lane closure with traffic control (flaggers on-site) and the need for bikes to merge with vehicular traffic.

Railroad crossing work must also be completed before 47th Street can be established as a Quiet Zone. BNSF is finalizing plans for this work, which only they can implement. We will communicate that information once we've received it.

Quiet Zones roadway work at 63rd Street (north of Arapahoe) will begin in late July and last for approximately one week to a week and a half. Roadway work includes extension of the north and south medians, striping and signage installation (such as "No Train Horn" signs).

Impacts (during off peak hours from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.) include a single lane closure with traffic control (flaggers on-site) and the need for bikes to merge with vehicular traffic.

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 process to establish a Quiet Zone is underway.

The Pearl Parkway railroad crossing will receive improvements from BNSF Railroad, which owns the right-of-way at railroad crossings. BNSF is finalizing work plans for the crossing and this webpage will be updated with that schedule when we are notified.

The 55th Street railroad crossing will receive improvements from BNSF Railroad, which owns the right-of-way at railroad crossings. BNSF is finalizing work plans for the crossing and this webpage will be updated with that schedule when we are notified.

 

Boulder County Quiet Zones

For more information about Quiet Zone projects in Boulder County, including the 63rd Street at the Diagonal Highway location, please contact Andrew Barth at the Boulder County Department of Transportation at [email protected]  or visit the Boulder County Railroad Quiet Zones webpage.

What Are Quiet Zones?

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.

Once the improvements are made to the railroad crossing 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.

Once 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.

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:

  1. 47th St.
  2. Valmont Road
  3. Pearl Parkway
  4. 63rd St. at the Diagonal Highway
  5. 55th St. north of Arapahoe
  6. 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.

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.

You may also  join our list to receive project updates by email.

Have a Comment?

We want to hear from you! If you have any comments or questions about the railroad Quiet Zones projects, please submit your comments below. Feedback will be shared with the project team.