San Jose: Temporary Measures to Bring Relief from Late-Night Train Horns
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As Union Pacific Railroad trains continue to travel through the greater downtown area late at night, the Department of Transportation is working quickly on creative solutions to stop the nighttime use of train horns. We know residents' sleep and mental health are being tested nightly.

We are focusing our efforts to improve safety where the railroad track, Jackson Street, and North Seventh Street intersect. By bringing the location up to quiet zone regulatory requirements, the City will be able to establish a partial quiet zone along a two-mile section of the Warm Springs spur.

We are planning a two-phase approach. First, we will add paint, signs, and temporary obstructions to the intersection. This will prevent people from driving across or onto the tracks when a train is approaching. The second phase will be the full reconstruction of the intersection, with wholly new railroad crossing infrastructure and street layout.

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An illustrative rendering of the phase 1 design is below. A temporary tradeoff is that Jackson Street will need to be closed to eastbound traffic at Seventh Street. This design is necessary to satisfy safety and regulatory requirements at the intersection. The good news is that the closure only applies during the first phase of our approach; the permanent design (which will take an estimated two and a half years to implement) will restore full access to Jackson Street.

The phase 1 design also calls for the removal of three parking spots along Seventh Street and the addition of one spot on Jackson Street. Please note: not all the parking changes are shown in the rendering. The parking modifications are in response to UPRR concerns caused by a few of the remaining spaces, and we agreed to remove some and modify others.

The City received UPRR approval for the phase 1 design on 9/3/21.  And the California Public Utilities Commission approved the design on 9/14/21. We are hopeful that this first phase can be implemented in the fall. It will need to be coordinated with other UPRR work along the track, which the City of San José is supporting but does not control. When the work is complete, we will immediately establish a partial, nighttime-only quiet zone along the Warm Springs line.

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We truly appreciate the strain neighbors have been under. This is a unique situation and we at the City of San José are committed to providing some relief as quickly as possible.

Photo simulation of phase one installation on Seventh Street, looking north.

Photo simulation of phase one installation at intersection of Jackson and Seventh Streets, looking southeast from Seventh Street.

Phase one installation, aerial view. Please note: some parking spaces shown in this photo simulation will be removed in final design.

Filed Under: Government, City

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