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Quality of Life

Downtown San Diego 'Quiet Zone' reinstated after railroad crossing work

Three different Surfliner trains are shown parked at Santa Fe Depot on April 28, 2023.
Carlos Castillo
/
KPBS
Three different Surfliner trains are shown parked at Santa Fe Depot on April 28, 2023.

Trains traveling through San Diego's downtown area will again suspend the use of horns in a "Quiet Zone" when crossing streets following work by city crews to bring 12 intersections into compliance with federal standards.

The Federal Railroad Administration completed an inspection that found deficiencies in the 12 crossings, including insufficient signage and road markings.

On Jan. 19, the FRA suspended downtown's "Quiet Zone" — where train horns are sounded at crossings only in the case of emergencies or to comply with other federal regulations. Without the designation, trains have been required to sound their horns when approaching highway-rail grade crossings through downtown.

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On Friday, the city submitted documentation to show improvements completed and to request the reinstatement of the Quiet Zone.

"The city's transportation department expedited all of the required sign installations and striping to achieve restoration of the Quiet Zone faster than anticipated," Mayor Todd Gloria said. "I am grateful to the city crews for getting this work done quickly and to Federal Railroad Administration staff for working with the city to resolve this issue."

According to the city, transit agencies have seven days to comply with the Quiet Zone reinstatement. The North County Transit District has already suspended use of horns.

The crossings in question are Laurel Street, Grape Street, Cedar Street, Beech Street, Ash Street, Broadway, Kettner Boulevard, G Street, Hawthorn Street, Market Street, Front Street, First Avenue and Fifth Avenue.

Additionally, San Diego completed the required traffic survey to determine the number of vehicles entering the crossings daily, a city statement read.

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The city is in close communication with the FRA and "will continue to monitor safety improvements at intersections to ensure compliance for the future."