The Watchdog loves a good howl but knows that noise can get on some people’s nerves.
In Merriam, Tom Davis isn’t too happy about noises he hears regularly: train whistles along a track that crosses Johnson Drive and 67th Street.
Davis said he thinks the intersections qualify for silent crossing status, which makes sounding a whistle optional and not required. He wants to know why there can’t be a compromise between the train operators and the cities that the tracks run through.
“It would seem to me that Merriam would want to work with the railroad to curb unnecessary blasting of train whistles at night and on most days, given the silent crossing status of those tracks,” he said.
He said the Dog could be a real hero to his pals at a nearby animal shelter, who also put up with the whistle blasts.
Merriam City Administrator Phil Lammers said he understands people’s frustrations and said the city has them too.
“We wish we could put quiet zones in all of those intersections,” he said. “We can’t.”
Lammers said those two crossings have never had quiet zone status and the talks to make them quiet zones happened more than five years ago.
One area that does have silent crossing status is off Interstate 35, near 75th Street on an outer road.
Lammers said that “took a long time to achieve.”
So who is responsible?
Well, BNSF, the railroad that passes through Merriam, can’t unilaterally establish a quiet zone either. The Federal Railroad Administration has the last word.
The railroad can close crossings, though, and works with communities to do that.
According to BNSF, public and private crossings that might qualify for closing are those deemed unnecessary because other nearby crossings allow similar access, aren’t on emergency routes or don’t have a lot of traffic.
But in Merriam, things aren’t changing.
“The railroad is excruciatingly temperamental, and they were there first,” Lammers said.
The Watchdog says “excruciatingly temperamental” describes so much in his life: his relatives, his lawnmower and his computer.
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