What is a Quiet Zone?
A Quiet Zone is a railroad grade
crossing at which trains are prohibited from sounding their horns
in order to decrease the noise level for nearby residential
communities. The train horns can be silenced only when other safety
measures compensate for the absence of the horns.
What is the Status of the Washington Quiet Zone?
The Washington Corridor is currently
under consideration for implementation of a Quiet Zone. In fact,
the City of Houston's Public Works Department has created a plan to
implement the Quiet Zone. Funds have been allocated for fiscal
years 2008 through 2013 to implement these Quiet Zones.
The Washington Corridor Quiet Zone is finally getting implemented. The Residents have spoken- loud and clear! Construction is to be completed in April 2010. The Quiet Zone is an area where the train is not allowed to blow its horn when crossing a major intersection. There is a major rail line that runs through the Washington Corridor which consist of residential neighborhoods: The Old Sixth Ward, West End, Memorial Heights, Sawyer Heights, Camp Logan and Rice Military.
These neighborhoods have experienced revitalization over the past 10 years. What used to be a community of dilapidated bungalow homes on block and beams have transformed to 3-story townhomes and single-family homes. The property value excelled from $50,000 a home to an average of $350,000 in a matter of 5 years. The draw to the area is the proximity to Downtown Houston, Memorial Park and neighboring communities such as River Oaks and Hyde Park. Though the location was convenient, the train was not!
The train has always been a nuisance to the residents. A few residents claim that the train conductor blared its horn at least 30 times a day. I personally own a home less than a block away from the train and I can attest to that. The train runs day and night. After a while, you adapt to your environment and the horn becomes silent noise, dare I say. On the other hand, now that the Quiet Zone is coming into fruition, this change will be much easier to adapt to.
Below is a picture of a townhome along the Wasington Corridor and train track.