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11/17/2013 6:00:00 AM
Shhhhhh ... Kingman has a quiet zone
Fanfare absent when Council OK'd funding needed to quiet train traffic
A train passes through downtown Kingman in August 2010.
A train passes through downtown Kingman in August 2010.

Shawn Byrne
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Walk along the 300 and 400 blocks of Andy Devine Avenue downtown and wait for two trains to pass each other near Fourth Street. Now try to imagine sleeping through the night because of the noise level.

"One (train passing by) is OK, but when there are two trains honking their horns - it's just crazy," Linda Tyree said. "You can't hear the person the next to you."

Tyree is a day shift bartender at the Sportsmans Club, which is located almost directly across from the Fourth Street railroad crossing.

When Tyree was informed that the city of Kingman is in the process of establishing a Quiet Zone for downtown, she was elated.

"It sure would be nice," she said. "And a lot better on my ears."

The Quiet Zone project will remove the need for trains to sound their horns at the three at-grade crossings downtown on Second and Fourth streets and on Topeka Street at Sixth Street. Appropriately enough, perhaps, the City Council quietly approved the project when it adopted the current year's budget, with no direct discussion about it. Generally, a project that has been discussed and on wish lists for years - and the Quiet Zone fits the bill - would generate at least a little bit of fanfare when funding is finally available to pay for it.

The first $350,000 will come from the proceeds from its sale of the Development Services building at 201 N. Fourth St. to Werner Fleischmann, who has converted the building into Beale Celebrations. The project has been funded at $370,000 and anything more than the $350,000 will get funded as a result of the recent tax amendments that Council passed and that took affect July 1, according to Finance Director Coral Loyd.

"We got money from downtown, so we agreed to use it downtown," Councilmember Mark Wimpee said. "We're hoping to have that done by the International Route 66 Festival."

The festival can bring 10,000 people to Kingman and a downtown void of trains blaring their horns would most likely make for a better experience. Though it's possible for the work to be down by then, there is not a guarantee.

"That depends on the railroad," City Engineer Greg Henry said. "They'll have the opportunity to approve the plans, but that is an unknown process."

The city is currently working on the design plans for the project, and Henry said once the plans are submitted to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co., it has 90 days to review the plans and provide feedback.

"We can't say it is going to take the full 90 days, but we have to plan for the worst case," Henry said. "The work itself is straightforward."

The engineer said once the final go-ahead is given, the median and sidewalk work shouldn't take more than 75 days. But before that, the city has to send the work out to bid and that process will cost some days as well.

Werner Fleischmann, a developer who also owns the Beale Street Courtyard business plaza, commercial property at 432 Beale St. and the Hotel Brunswick is now able to look forward to reopening the Brunswick. He said at his Beale Celebrations grand opening dinner on Oct. 26 that with the noise from the trains, he would not be able to open the hotel side of the Brunswick "because it doesn't make sense to offer rooms when the guests can't sleep."

He said he was hopeful that when the hotel is ready by the end of 2014, the quiet zone project would be done as well and he could open up the rooms.

When the quiet zones are installed, there is one question Linda Tyree won't have to ask as much anymore.

"What did you say?"

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• Goal: Finish downtown 'quiet zone' before Route 66 fest hits Kingman

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 2, 2013
Article comment by: What the??

@ BNSF Conductor,

Yes i do remember all of that BUT as i mentioned in a prior post, most of the time it was found out to be the stupidity of the people not heeding to the new quiet zone warnings and stuff thus finding themselves in accidents and whatnot.
As for people dying while laying in ambulances being held at the crossings, well that, sir, is just plain absurd. EVERYBODY, no matter who it is or what it is has to be held at a crossing while trains are going by. What what these ambulances suppose to do? Run right through the crossing AND the trains? So yes, your statement on that still does not validate NOT needing the quiet zones. Basically i think since you work for the railroad then you must talk for their side.

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2013
Article comment by: What the??

Well since the railroad is too stubborn and has thier heads up where the sun doesnt shine to end the problem and just relocate the tracks AROUND the city then i think that id be all for the under/overpass thing. That would eliminate the crossings, BUT it still doesnt eliminate the horns constantly blowing from one end of town to the other. When i lived downtown, i remember how theyd just lay on those horns from just past the new jail all the way up to near El Travatore Hill and i just think there was abosutely no need for that nonsense.Theyd even hit those horns while going over the overpass there at eighth street for god sakes. A few short toots is fine but when the engineers just layyyy on those horns, then it becomes obnoxious, especially at night.

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2013
Article comment by: BNSF Conductor

Do you remember how bad central Flagstaff traffic was prior to the deletion of crossings and the overpass being built? The daily accidents? The traffic jams! The story on people who died from being held at the crossing in an ambulance! The reports from the fire department that a disaster was in the making?
Those same issues plague Kingman.
Those same issues have been put forth and the top recommendation from several studies have been to remove the crossings and put in under over passes. Prior articles here at the Miner address this and the money already spent that tells the city to do this!

Quiet zones do not make anyone safer! They also do not address the issue of emergency access or traffic flow!

People of all ages do stupid things.
Drunk, not paying attention, in a hurry, ect.
Here in Kingman we have lost many young people at grade crossings who made a stupid judgement and paid with their lives!
This was a factor in the closing of Louise Ave.
Lets prevent this from happening again!

Public safety should be the top priority!

Everyone wants the horns gone. I do to. Just want it done right the first time in the safest manner with the best benefit to Kingman.

Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2013
Article comment by: Karen Garnet

Again! WHY? do people move down town when they KNOW there are train tracks?

Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2013
Article comment by: Nick Schmidt

I have seen sound barriers in Europe made of steep earth pyramid walls 20-25 ft high. Also concrete walls.
Ask Mr. Fleischmann. He should
know that traditional railway station
hotels in Europe have soundproof
windows today. Simple technology.
You cannot open them any more.
So don't blow up a problem, pls.

Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2013
Article comment by: What the??

And IF they decided to put in the crossing for me, and this was even for just a simple gravel crossing, mind you, that i had to allow just ANYBODY to cross it but yet still be liable for them. I told her (the safety manager) that that HAD to be THE biggest crock of dog !@@$$ ive ever heard but yet people wonder why i hate the railroad! THATS why!

Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2013
Article comment by: What the??

This is one of THE main reasons i absolutely HATE the railroad. I own mining claims just outside of the city and at one time had crossings over the tracks that i could use to get out to my claims but since the screwballs went out and removed the crossings, now i cant even get out to my claims! When i brought this up with the RR safety manager, she had the audacity to tell me that if i needed a crossing then I WOULD have to pay to have that new crossing put in, and it had to be to THEIR standards and not mine PLUS i had to show proof of THREE seperate insurance policies BEFORE theyd even DECIDE if they would put in a crossing or not! In other words, they had to decide, AFTER I PAID ALL OF THIS whether or not the crossing would go up so i could get out to my claims. Ive had these claims for years!

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Article comment by: What the??

All in all, im tickled PINK and all kinds of colors about this going into effect. It just means chalk one up for the railroad that they DIDNT win and one they DIDNT get their way with!

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Article comment by: What the??

@ BNSF Conductor:

I think your a bit full of it buddy. Ive lived in Flagstaff for many years (actually i was a VIP for SO up there for awhile) and the quiet zone there wasnt the main cause of accidents, it was the stupidity of people not heeding to the quiet zone devices that caused the accidents. And also, it wasnt due to the devices 'breaking down'. Basically, in most cases, accidents are caused by human error, not by devices.I remember us having to respond to accidents around the tracks only because of individuals being stupid, then ended up sitting in the County Jail over it, IF they survived the accident!

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Article comment by: What the??

[Comment exceeded word limit.]

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Article comment by: What the??


People cant be THAT stupid to not know trains are there! If they wasnt so !@#$@ stupid then there wouldnt be accidents, now WOULD there? I still say good riddance to the railroad AND its freaking horns!

Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

It all boils down to...if people are so stupid they drive around the barriers or so impaired they don't hear the warning of a train approaching...I'd call it thinning out the herd.

Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013
Article comment by: BNSF Conductor

A low cost solution to quiet the area some and reduce a passing trains sound "not the horn but other noises" would be to erect a berm hiding the tracks and plant trees and shrubs on it. Build a sound barrier! This would assist on noise pollution with any crossing proposal and beautify the area with park land!

3 posts due to 200 word limit!

Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013
Article comment by: BNSF Conductor

This keeps access to the the area if a train blocks these crossings and allows emergency responders immediate access to the area.

The worst part is I do not want to see a derailment and fire that blocks the crossings! You could be talking hundreds of lives lost! Millions in wrongful death lawsuits against the city for this is a known issue!

Bottom line land values in the area are low. It would be cheaper for the city to do some future planning for a change and buy the land now. Demolish the low rent homes in the way and build bypasses. The alternative is to wait like Flagstaff did for the area to become a major development and then the only economical method to be a quiet zone! To costly to buy the surrounding land to do the job right.

As for moving the tracks away from the city, Do you have a couple 100 million to spare? That would require buying thousands of acres of land and blasting a huge canyon to allow a gentle slope for the trains to pass. New rail costs over a million a mile alone!

Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013
Article comment by: BNSF Conductor

Quiet zones ARE NOT QUIET! They have horns and bells at the crossings! Yes less noisy than a train horn, but still noisy!

Do not waste our money on quiet zones!

Do the job once and do it right!

The F.R.A. "Federal Rail Road Administration" recommends the Removal of all grade crossings in the whole country. They do not recommend quiet zones! A quiet zone is still a grade crossing! People die at grade crossings all the time! Even Quiet zones!

Yes removing these crossings will cost 4 times as much at first, but will save the city millions in the future!

The BNSF rail road has stated they will cover a portion of the cost of eliminating these crossings.

Elimination moves the traffic and pedestrians away from the tracks making everyone safer even RR employees.

This keeps liability with the RR and not the city for any failures or stupid people incidents!
Quiet zones have to be paid for by the city. The city will pay for upkeep and the city will have liability on the crossing when an incident occurs, since it will be city property and equipment. This is hardware and it does break!

Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013
Article comment by: Sam Diego

Something to think about.....

"But as quiet zones sprung up all over the country, safety concerns emerged. A January 2000 study by the Federal Railroad Administration found a 62-percent increase in accidents at crossings where train horns were banned.

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Article comment by: jennifer montano

Have any of you ever thought that the trains horn is blowing to keep people SAFE and clear of the tracks while proceeding through a congested or well populated area. I 'm pretty darn sure the engineer of that train is not blow the horn to be a pest their doing it to make sure that people stand clear they can't stop on a dime like a car can !!!!!

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

Ohh please...will the railroad employee that has responded in the past please show up?

GPS crew-less trains? Really? Trains aren't really required anymore? How do you think freight (food, cars, cattle, coal, minerals, etc) get moved from where it starts to where it is used? Magic? And there are rules about how and where they blow their horns now..not like "in the old days".

As Jim Hinckley said, look at Flagstaff...some of their most active parts of town are right near the tracks. Shops, businesses, restaurants, all sort of things. People (Crowds of people!) walking all over the 10 block area.

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Article comment by: Don't Blow It

-The trains weren't making quite that ear drum bursting noise when a lot of those people first moved in.
-Maybe the proceeds generated from the Festival will be enough to do all those projects around the whole of Kingman, without additional taxes having to be levied against us?
- For the benefit of Mr. Fleishmann and other downtown businesses or not, I DO know it is to MY ear's benefit not to hear the ongoing highest decibel of the train whistle while visiting the downtown area. Tourists are likely to feel the same way.
However, a pay down on the sewer treatment plants is HUGE on my list of wants, too.
-The town would probably eventually grow out and beyond to wherever the train tracks would move.
- "no" train horns? Or "lower - much lower - and shorter" train horns?

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Article comment by: JUST SAYIN'

THIS NEEDS A VOTE BY THE PEOPLE... Survey shows A GREAT INCREASE IN DEADLY ACCIDENTS in QUITE ZONES for trains. did any council member research this.. I did without lining my pockets $$$

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Hinckley

Didn't the city pursue creation of a quiet zone long before the current owner of the Brunswick Hotel arrived in town? Didn't Flagstaff create a quiet zone in an effort to spur business development? If a quiet zone spurs development in the historic district, doesn't that increase potential tax revenues and create jobs? In reading the comments posted about this article I see with clarity why Williams has been transformed while the historic district in Kingman languishes.

Posted: Monday, November 18, 2013
Article comment by: C'Mon Man

I know that people have been trying to get a quiet zone for this area for many years . And now because this dude buys some property from the City he gets his quiet zone .Didn't the former owners of the Brunswick complain about the Train noise ? They didn't get any quiet zone .

I really hope the City doesn't think the citizens of Kingman are morons . Just another part of corruption in the City of Kingman . Makes me feel different about this developer now . Just another crooked one with money .

Posted: Monday, November 18, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

I'm lost here! What exactly is the money for?

I just don't get it. I was raised about 15' from the downtown tracks...when the trains rolled through all night long, we were nearly thrown out of bed. Never bothered us...after marriage, it took two years to get used to no trains in my new abode.

But that was the actual train noise. They never blew the whistles more than a couple of times at crossings. Now back near them, they blow them endlessly. Can't they just stop blowing them SO MUCH? That would cost NOTHING.

What is the money for? That part is missing in the story. Will Shawn Byrne please give us the rest of the story? I never minded the whistles, just blowing them for Sooooooo long was the killer.

Posted: Monday, November 18, 2013
Article comment by: bobby todd

Quiet Zones
Union Pacific believes quiet zones compromise the safety of railroad
employees, customers, and the general public. While the railroad does
not endorse quiet zones, it does comply with provisions outlined in the
federal law.

So no train horns at private crossings is a good idea because__?

Posted: Monday, November 18, 2013
Article comment by: bobby todd

How the scam works.
1. Feds trump state train horn laws.
2. Train horns whistle whip people into submission.
3. Railroad comes in and makes a fortune in overcharges and stolen signal equipment (OURS).
4.Somebody (not railroads) has to pay for ridiculous priced liability insurance so railroad is hold harmless.
5. WE will pay rediculous amounts for railroad to service signals.
6.The crossings for GPS crew-less trains hid behind the curtains not a problem for railroads any longer.
7. Railroad directors pay themselves more millions we make up at check out lanes.

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