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Washington Corridor Quiet Zone

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A second public meeting will be held tomorrow, August 26th at the West End Multi-Service Center located at 170 Heights Blvd, Houston, Texas 77007 from 7 to 8 pm. This meeting is to provide the results of the comment period from the first public meeting (held a couple of months back) and outline the next steps in getting the Washington Corridor to be a quiet zone.

If you have the time, please attend and show your support. It would be great if the city can complete this project by mid 2010 or earlier.

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As much as I hate the "clubs" in that area I can't say that the development is a bad thing... Why would you want to put in a quiet zone that would affect the establishments that were already there? Walters on Washington being a very unique venue that I would hate to see shut down... Is there a lot of support for this? Can anyone shed some light on this subject?

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As much as I hate the "clubs" in that area I can't say that the development is a bad thing... Why would you want to put in a quiet zone that would affect the establishments that were already there? Walters on Washington being a very unique venue that I would hate to see shut down... Is there a lot of support for this? Can anyone shed some light on this subject?

It's a quiet zone being set up for train noise - they're changing the road/rail crossings so that they don't need to wake everyone within a 2 mile radius at 3 in the morning. Our bars are safe (phew!)

Here's the link to the website http://washingtonquietzone.com/

Edited by outback

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What I dont understand is why the train tracks are there in the first place. In the case where they were already there when the city annexed the land, then why don't the railroad companies just go elsewhere? I mean, in this day and age, why do we still have railroad tracks in the middle of the city.

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What I dont understand is why the train tracks are there in the first place. In the case where they were already there when the city annexed the land, then why don't the railroad companies just go elsewhere? I mean, in this day and age, why do we still have railroad tracks in the middle of the city.

I think it's prohibitively expensive to re-route tracks. It's not like a blacktopped road. And these trains are moving freight to and from the Port of Houston - this is an incredibly busy line, and it's always been so. Historically, cities were railroad hubs - of course there would be tracks "through the middle of the city". Why move them when they work just fine?

So I think the better question to ask would be: "Why are all these people buying townhouses next to the tracks when they know full well they're going to be living next to an active rail line?" Granted, the engineers wouldn't have to blow their horns as much if the drunks would stay off the tracks, and idiot drivers would stop racing the train to the next crossing....

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So I think the better question to ask would be: "Why are all these people buying townhouses next to the tracks when they know full well they're going to be living next to an active rail line?" Granted, the engineers wouldn't have to blow their horns as much if the drunks would stay off the tracks, and idiot drivers would stop racing the train to the next crossing....

I agree - it's what I think when the story pops up on the news now and again, and they interview residents who act like 'woe is me...!' So, you weren't aware of the train when you bought the house...?

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I think people should have known better when they bought their property. My wife and I live in 77007 about 750 feet from the tracks and we knew full well when we bought that a busy train line was there and horns blew (we looked at many houses and were often there when trains went by not to mention we looked at a map of the area before we even started looking...) I've never once been woken up by the trains nor has my wife, it's just background noise now like so much else in city life.

I've actually sent in the comment card saying I think it's a waste of city money to pacify a bunch of people who should have known better and I also do not like some of the proposed changes like closing of certain crossings etc... Hopefully it won't go through and all the complainers can move back to the suburbs since it seems that's what they really want in the end anyway.

Edited by goavs4
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I agree - it's what I think when the story pops up on the news now and again, and they interview residents who act like 'woe is me...!' So, you weren't aware of the train when you bought the house...?

I can't speak for all my neighbors but speaking of myself and my five neighbors (townhouse six pack) we all knew about the train. But I was raised in a community near train tracks. This is nothing new to me and honestly except for the rare nights during the winter when it's not raining and cool enough to open the windows, I don't even notice the train horns. Now there are some HHN townhouses literally physically on the southside of the tracks. If someone there does complain about the train that would be pretty silly/hypocritical.

But like I said, my neighbors and I knew about the train and don't complain about it. I am actually annoyed somewhat by the Quiet Zone because it would close two access streets (Bonner and Thompson) that I use to head south out of my neighborhood.

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I think it's prohibitively expensive to re-route tracks. It's not like a blacktopped road. And these trains are moving freight to and from the Port of Houston - this is an incredibly busy line, and it's always been so. Historically, cities were railroad hubs - of course there would be tracks "through the middle of the city". Why move them when they work just fine?

So I think the better question to ask would be: "Why are all these people buying townhouses next to the tracks when they know full well they're going to be living next to an active rail line?" Granted, the engineers wouldn't have to blow their horns as much if the drunks would stay off the tracks, and idiot drivers would stop racing the train to the next crossing....

Exactly. These particular tracks have been here a long, long time and do a lot of heavy moving to the Port of Houston.

The city understands that it can't have all of the old routes still in place and that's why some have been dismantled and moved (such as the one where the bike trail now sits).

There are rumors that all train traffic will be moved out of residential areas in the future, but I don't see that being something that happens overnight.

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I would imagine that any costs paid for by the city to implement these quiet zones would be more than paid back by the increase in property values in the immediate area.

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I agree - it's what I think when the story pops up on the news now and again, and they interview residents who act like 'woe is me...!' So, you weren't aware of the train when you bought the house...?

here's a question...is it the train noise or the quality of construction of various homes in the surrounding area?

for some srange reason, take into account that i'd typically go to sleep around 2 am, when i lived in that area a few years back the train noise was never an issue and none of my neighbors ever complained about it..maybe we were too far south of the tracks or maybe our northern windows were somewhat sound proof, but of course you'd hear the horn the noise was never a huge nuisance..

Anyone else feel this way?

(Hey yankee...are you a homeowner yet or still a hopeful?) Just looking out for my "Big Ten" people..Go Badgers...However, i specifically remember stumping on the "O" in Columbus. Fun times!

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Just looking out for my "Big Ten" people..Go Badgers...However, i specifically remember stumping on the "O" in Columbus. Fun times!

Aw, a HAIF-er after my own heart. Go Badgers indeed!

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In the next few decades we will be LUCKY to have those tracks there. When shipping by truck becomes too expensive to get goods from outlying areas you will see an increase/revival of shipping/travelling by rail. I personally would like to see neighborhood rail transport return.

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In the next few decades we will be LUCKY to have those tracks there. When shipping by truck becomes too expensive to get goods from outlying areas you will see an increase/revival of shipping/travelling by rail. I personally would like to see neighborhood rail transport return.

How does that benefit "us" in any way?

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I understand the problem but I find it hilarious that folks will buy a place right next to the train tracks and them complain about the noise. There have been folks living in this area, next to the railroad for what now for what, a hundred years? Do these "Quiet Zones" exist in other parts of the city? what about other cities?

Edited by gto250us

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What I dont understand is why the train tracks are there in the first place. In the case where they were already there when the city annexed the land, then why don't the railroad companies just go elsewhere? I mean, in this day and age, why do we still have railroad tracks in the middle of the city.

Getting a railroad to change their right-of-way is like getting Ted Kennedy out of office. It just ain't going to happen.

Edited by gto250us

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I understand the problem but I find it hilarious that folks will buy a place right next to the train tracks and them complain about the noise. There have been folks living in this area, next to the railroad for what now for what, a hundred years? Do these "Quiet Zones" exist in other parts of the city? what about other cities?

The line that runs parallel to the West Loop is a quiet zone. All of those cross streets have updated rail crossings.

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I still find this issue somewhat crazy. I would think that there are more annoying sources of sound in our urban environment than the damn train. The incessant rumble and roar of the freeways is a good example. I never hear of anyone trying to shut them down at night. After all this is a large city and if you want to hear the crickets you move to Waller.

Wait - Waller has a train also.

Edited by gto250us

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How does that benefit "us" in any way?

if transportation costs are kept down, so are prices. each train also keeps quite a few 18 wheelers off the roads/freeways.

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if transportation costs are kept down, so are prices. each train also keeps quite a few 18 wheelers off the roads/freeways.

I suspect that the railroads of this country are one of the most under capitalized and under used infrastructure item in this country.

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I still find this issue somewhat crazy. I would think that there are more annoying sources of sound in our urban environment than the damn train.

I'm in a downtown skyscraper and I just heard a train horn. My ears, make it stop!laugh.gif

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I agree with SaintCyr, in the coming years as it becomes much more expensive for air and truck transport, two far more efficient methods, shipping and rail, will be needed to transport goods. For those along the Washington corridor and anywhere else in this city that depends heavily on inputs to the local economy via the port, that means more ships with more cargo and more and more trains running to distribute it across the city and beyond. So unless we perform grade separations all over the city at all road and RR intersections, the train conductors will need to blow the horns to warn people to the approaching danger of the train.

(0:25 - 1:40) <---- The people who move into the "Villas on Heights" in 25 years

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How does that benefit "us" in any way?

It will benefit us because in the next 20-30 years transportation how we know it will change quite a bit due to the lack of oil for big trucks...

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A bunch of idiot residents are now objecting the Quiet Zone from Patterson to Oliver street because they think the money can be spent elsewhere (i.e. on Parking/Police, etc).

While I agree the other issues are problems, the city doesn't re-allocate funds that way. Get the attention on your neighborhood and other problems will be solved in the future.

What they don't realize is that city budgets do not work like your checking account.

If the money doesn't get spent on your own neighborhood, it gets spent in another location for the same purpose.

This issue frustrates me like no other, looking a gift horse in the mouth is what it is.

Property values should increase after this and even if the train doesn't bother you, the city WANTS to spend money on your neighborhood and you're going to refuse it?!???

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The people who move into the Villas on Heights

My favorite bit of builder-developer lunacy in all of Houston. I love to make fun of this project whenever possible. Thanks.

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I was wondering if anyone on HAIF attended the Washington Corridor Quiet Zone informational meeting held back on Monday? They were going to update the timeline and discuss construction. The http://www.washingtonquietzone.com/ website hasn't been updated since the 8th.

The construction was originally supposed to have started July 2009 and close Thompson and Bonner at the railroad tracks. I'm just curious how things stand now.

Thank you in advance.

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I was wondering if anyone on HAIF attended the Washington Corridor Quiet Zone informational meeting held back on Monday? They were going to update the timeline and discuss construction. The http://www.washingtonquietzone.com/ website hasn't been updated since the 8th.

The construction was originally supposed to have started July 2009 and close Thompson and Bonner at the railroad tracks. I'm just curious how things stand now.

Thank you in advance.

I missed this meeting too but I emailed the Quiet Zone folks and got a reply that they were waiting on details on schedule slides from the city, but the quiet zone work is scheduled to start in January and will be fully implemented by end of April. It still includes Thompson & Bonner closure. The Public Works dept is typically pretty good about project milestones once they get the go ahead, so I would expect by May 2010 we should have a Quiet Zone in place.

On a side note, we in UWE shoudl expect TX DOT to start work on I-10 feeder roads between Yale & Patterson soon (as in 2010).

Irfan

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Thanks Irfran. Tammy had forwarded me your e-mail after hearing from the Quiet Zone folks. I'll miss using Bonner and Thompson, but not the train horn so this is pretty exciting news. Don't know if I care that much about the feeder extension. There'll be a lot of noise and heavy trucks just one street up from where I live and probably more car noise once it's completed. Guess it'll help traffic flow along that stretch of the freeway, though so it should be a good thing as well.

Thanks again!

- Robert

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Also, some more developments in Upper West End per the Civic club meeting:

1. West End Park is scheduled to be leveled and re-graded to help with the drainage issue on the back side of the park. The pavillion will be leveled and no plans to replace it. FWIW, I think this is a good thing, as it was a haven for the homeless people and drug dealers. The playground structures will stay and be a part of the plans for the park updates.

The schedule on this project will probably be drawn out to a couple years, as the total amount for the park improvements is something in the neighborhood of $200k.

2. Patterson St. has been selected by the COH to have their sidewalks re-done as part of a city-wide pedestrian initiative. There are several other streets across the city that will have their sidewalks re-done and widened as well. As for Patterson, the sidewalks will be re-done and apparently about 6 ft. wide, from Washington all the way to I-10 feeder. Not sure about the schedule for this, but 2010 seems to be a big year for UWE construction projects...if it all pans out.

Edited by longhornguy

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The Washington Corridor Quiet Zone went into effect today. Feels strange to see the trains pass by and not hear the loud horn. Thanks to all that made this happen. Hope this is something positive for everyone.

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I'll be the first to admit I grumped about the Quiet Zone when it was first proposed. (e.g. - "you bought a house next to the tracks, shut up and deal with it"). But now that it's in effect? Wow. I love it. I never noticed just how often I heard the horns all night long from my place in the Heights.

So, I take it back - good job Washington Corridor residents!

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I was taking pictures of a new listing on Eigel with the front door open the other day and heard a whooshing noise coming from outside and couldn't figure out what it was at first?

I quickly realized it was the train coming by. It sure was strange hearing that noise without the horn blasting!

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I like the sound of the horns at night and in the morning. I am going to miss them, but the one a bit north of 610 will still do it for us. I write this from a hotel room that's about 200 yards from a runway at Heathrow, which doesn't bother me at all. I guess I just view noise differently than most.

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I like the sound of the horns at night and in the morning. I am going to miss them, but the one a bit north of 610 will still do it for us. I write this from a hotel room that's about 200 yards from a runway at Heathrow, which doesn't bother me at all. I guess I just view noise differently than most.

I like train noise too, and that's part of what I like about Eastwood is that it's literally surrounded by active freight tracks. Having said that, I wouldn't want to have it in my back yard...so good for the Washington Corridor.

Edited by TheNiche

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I like the sound of the horns at night and in the morning. I am going to miss them, but the one a bit north of 610 will still do it for us. I write this from a hotel room that's about 200 yards from a runway at Heathrow, which doesn't bother me at all. I guess I just view noise differently than most.

I suppose that depends more on proximity to the tracks and the regularity of the trains. When I lived in Memphis, I was half a block away from the Southern Pacific line which tore through town at least once every half hour. And when it did tear through, it shook the crap out of my apartment walls and the engineers blasted the horn so loudly and so long it was to the point of ridiculousness. If I was having a conversation over the phone and a train decided to drop through at that moment, I'd literally be forced to stop talking while it went through as no one would be able to hear me over the noise.

I'm sure the runway at Heathrow would be a vastly different experience if the hotel has less insulation and you actually lived there year-round.

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I like the sound of the horns at night and in the morning. I am going to miss them, but the one a bit north of 610 will still do it for us. I write this from a hotel room that's about 200 yards from a runway at Heathrow, which doesn't bother me at all. I guess I just view noise differently than most.

I already miss the trains. Two sounds I enjoy at night are the train horns and the racing motorcycles on I-10 or Memorial. All that is left are the bikes. All the quiet zone has done is remove one more quirk of living inside the loop. Along with the bulldozing of the old buildings on Washington in favor of new strip centers, I find the quiet zone another step in the remaking of Washington into a bland and boring area. The QZ supporters get no congratulations from me. They'll probably run off the bars next.

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They'll probably run off the bars next.

Probably with pitchforks and torches.

Is mankind simply irredeemable?

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I like train noise too, and that's part of what I like about Eastwood is that it's literally surrounded by active freight tracks. Having said that, I wouldn't want to have it in my back yard...so good for the Washington Corridor.

I also liked the distant horn while reading on my front porch at night. BUT I also lived on Mid Lane when I 1st moved to Houston in apartments that had nothing between them and the train tracks except a parking lot. It was terrible. I couldn't even stay there and ended up sleeping at my [now] husband's every night, which defeated the purpose of living close to work. So while I will miss the Washington whistles, they were not in my back yard so good for the people who live there.

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Two sounds I enjoy at night are the train horns and the racing motorcycles on I-10 or Memorial. All that is left are the bikes.

I like the sound of the sirens going to the scene when one of the racing motorcycles crashes into a bridge abutment.

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The Washington Corridor Quiet Zone went into effect today. Feels strange to see the trains pass by and not hear the loud horn. Thanks to all that made this happen. Hope this is something positive for everyone.

I loved the sound of the trains - the sound (in the distance) reminded me of my grandmother's summer house in Canada. Being the youngest, I would get up early with her and we would listen to the trains while having milk and oreos for breakfast.

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I already miss the trains. Two sounds I enjoy at night are the train horns and the racing motorcycles on I-10 or Memorial. All that is left are the bikes. All the quiet zone has done is remove one more quirk of living inside the loop. Along with the bulldozing of the old buildings on Washington in favor of new strip centers, I find the quiet zone another step in the remaking of Washington into a bland and boring area. The QZ supporters get no congratulations from me. They'll probably run off the bars next.

Make the move to the East End...no QZ yet.

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All the quiet zone has done is remove one more quirk of living inside the loop.

Nothing says quirky like a train horn blasting through your neighborhood at 3 AM.

I'm guessing you'll be in the minority on this one.

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Nothing says quirky like a train horn blasting through your neighborhood at 3 AM.

I'm guessing you'll be in the minority on this one.

Well of course RedScare (and I) (and CleaningLadyInCleveland) (and heightsyankee) (and 20thStreetDad) are in the minority. It wouldn't be quirky if Realtors advertised it to their mouthbreathing clientele. It'd just be another lame amenity.

You also wouldn't dare emphasize the random crowing of neighborhood roosters, the gritty urbanity of derelict brick warehouses, the local gang of nutria, a dive bar within stumbling distance of home (or the taco stand along the way), the neighbor that decorates art cars, or the delighted laughter of immigrant children playing outdoors (because their parents, your neighbors, can't afford to buy them video games).

Edited by TheNiche
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Well of course RedScare (and I) (and CleaningLadyInCleveland) (and heightsyankee) (and 20thStreetDad) are in the minority. It wouldn't be quirky if Realtors advertised it to their mouthbreathing clientele. It'd just be another lame amenity.

You also wouldn't dare emphasize the random crowing of neighborhood roosters, the gritty urbanity of derelict brick warehouses, the local gang of nutria, a dive bar within stumbling distance of home (or the taco stand along the way), the neighbor that decorates art cars, or the delighted laughter of immigrant children playing outdoors (because their parents, your neighbors, can't afford to buy them video games).

You must live near 12th and Yale... I think you just described my neighbors and the random noises we hear throughout the week... You can add my wife and I to missing the distant train horn. I understand it would be different if it were in my backyard but still going to miss it. Now if we could just find that dive bar within stumbling distance...

D

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You must live near 12th and Yale...

Eastwood, actually. I didn't realize that that kind of lifestyle still existed in the Heights. I thought it'd been all gentrified away by now.

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The Washington Corridor Quiet Zone went into effect today. Feels strange to see the trains pass by and not hear the loud horn. Thanks to all that made this happen. Hope this is something positive for everyone.

Took me 2 months to notice. But I am SUCH a light sleeper the sound off in the distance some times woke me up. So I thought more was involved than just putting up a 'no honking' sign? Seems to me people buying town homes on the tracks > safety?!

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