Meridian citizen petitions train quiet zones

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Resident Peter Holz presents train quiet zones and horn alternatives to the Board of Trustees.

Resident Peter Holz presents train quiet zones and horn alternatives to the Board of Trustees.

By Erin Gray
The Meridian Times

Meridian Township citizens petitioned the Board of Trustees to make railroad quiet zones in the township to eliminate train horn sounds at night.

“When I moved here eight years ago my grandchildren called my home Opa’s dream house,” said resident M.J. Aronoff. Opa is the Dutch word for grandfather.

“It is kind of ironic because since I’ve moved here, I haven’t been able to dream because I have consistently interrupted sleep,” Aronoff said.

Citizen Peter Holz petitioned for the first quiet zone to run from Hagadorn Road through Green Road in Meridian.

“A quiet zone is a length of railroad at least a half mile long where additional safety measures are installed for trains to refrain from sounding their horn, except in an emergency,” said resident Peter Holz.

Holz fathered 42 signatures in favor of the quiet zones and three opposed, according to township Trustee Clerk Brett Dreyfus.

“Quiet zones can improve the quality of life for humans and animals in Meridian Township while increasing the level of vehicular and pedestrian safety, and increasing our property values,” said Holz.

Citizens want quiet zones to eliminate the noise pollution and sleep deprivation and to increase their property values.

“Homes near railroads stay on the market longer,” said Holz, “They have noise all day and night and they typically get lower prices.”

Theresa Rice said she moved to the township last April.

Pedestrian barricades MSU uses for the railroad crossing on Hagadorn Road.

Pedestrian barricades MSU uses for the railroad crossing on Hagadorn Road.

“We had no idea how loud it was going to be in the evening time especially between midnight and 6 a.m.,” Rice said. “We would have reconsidered moving here, because we know how bothersome it can be,” she said.

Dreyfus said the first step in reducing the train’s horn is to make sure safety standards, imposed by the Federal Railroad Administration, are met before moving forward. Dreyfus said the process to get federal state approval is “involved and complicated.”

Holz said that MSU uses alternative safety measures at the railroad crossing on Hagadorn Road before Hannah Boulevard with barricades for pedestrians. He proposed that the railroad crossings in the potential quiet zones use barricades at certain times of day instead of the horn.

Township Trustee Angela Wilson said that with a project like this, the County Road Department would have to do redesigns of the road. “They need to get involved if anything because they are the ones that have to approve those changes,” Wilson said.

Dreyfus said he agreed with most of the petitioners to add these quiet zones and would like to move further at future board meetings.

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