Solution For Train Noise Moves Forward

Quiet Zone Would Extend From Laurel St. To Park Blvd.

While the blare of train horns is the biggest complaint by residents and visitors in San Diego, the complaints may soon fade into silence.

“It’s loud, obnoxious and wakes me up,” said Alex Procopio, who owns two condos, one of which faces railroad tracks. “A solution is long overdue.”

The Centre City Development Corporation’s Board of Directors voted on Wednesday to approve several sets of agreements with government agencies and rail companies.

“It’s a huge step,” said Frank Alessi, the executive vice president of the CCDC. “We’ve been working on this complex process since a previous city council set us on this task.”

The $20 million dollar project would create the nation’s largest quiet zone.

The project would add extra gates and safety measures at 13 rail crossings from Laurel Street to Park Boulevard, which could remove the need for engineers to blare the horns.

Redevelopment officials said the quiet zone could mean more tourism revenue. Guests at hotels such as The Marriott routinely complain about the noise.

Rita Rio is visiting from West Virginia and staying at The Marriott.

“I thought I was dreaming,” she said. “I’ve heard horns every night I’ve been here.”

Many rooms at The Marriott and other hotels go unused because of the horns.

“It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars for San Diego,” said Alessi.

The hope is that the silence will be golden for downtown’s projected population boom. One projection is for the downtown population to nearly triple in three decades.

City officials hope the quiet zone will attract new residents who hope to live and sleep in a downtown area.

“I’m looking forward to full night sleeps again,” said Procopio.

T he quiet zone project will go the to the redevelopment authority for a final vote in June, which is expected to pass.

Once the project passes, the crossings are scheduled to be installed in just over a year.