Shhh! Downtown Canby Quiet Zone Takes ‘Critical Step’ Forward

The Canby City Council, in their role as the Canby Urban Renewal Agency, last week agreed to reimburse Union Pacific Railroad for a site and design review that could allow the proposed quiet zone improvements to go forward.

The estimated cost of the railroad’s study is $75,000. As City Administrator Rick Robinson explained, UP’s request for reimbursement as a condition for undertaken a site and design review is a relatively new policy resulting from the railroad’s own financial instabilities and desires to cut costs.

Agreeing to reimburse the railroad’s cost does not guarantee the quiet zone will be approved. UP could look at our three downtown railroad crossings — South Elm, South Grant and South Ivy Street — and decide that they are safer the way they are.

But the agreement does guarantee Union Pacific will look at the proposal, which otherwise would be quite a long shot.

If approved, the quiet zone would remove the mandate requiring train engineers to sound their horns as they approach these three intersection in downtown Canby. Of course, they would still be permitted to whistle if a car or pedestrian were in the crossing, or to alert people of other emergency situations.

The proposal would come along with other engineering improvements at the crossings intending to make them safer, such as concrete medians that would prevent cars from driving around the arms of the railroad gates.

We reached out to officials at nearby Milwaukie, who successfully instituted a railroad quiet zone in their city several years ago. At the request of listeners, we asked if they’d seen an increase or decrease in railroad safety incidents since the quiet zone was established.

Though it will take more time to get firm numbers on crash data from the Milwaukie Police Department, Assistant City Manager Kelly Brooks says she has received, quote, “no complaints of safety issues related to the quiet zone” since she started working there a year ago.

Photo by jefzila.

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