RI hires study of railroad quiet zone

Posted Online: April 14, 2014, 9:37 pm
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com
ROCK ISLAND - Aldermen voted Monday to hire consultants to study narrowing 1st Avenue to create a railroad quiet zone in downtown Rock Island.

In a quiet zone, locomotive engineers are not required to sound a train's horn when approaching public railroad crossings. But to create a quiet zone, Rock Island must improve the area's signalling and safety devices to meet Federal Railroad Administration standards.

City officials propose creating a railroad quiet zone along 1st Avenue (Illinois 92) between Centennial Bridge and the Rock Island Arsenal Viaduct. The plan is in an early stage.

Rock Island's economic development director Jeff Eder said more space would be needed on 1st Avenue to install new cross-arms at railroad crossings to meet federal standards. To get that space, 1st Avenue could be narrowed to two lanes between Centennial Bridge and the Rock Island Arsenal Viaduct, with a center turn lane between 16th and 20th streets.

Aldermen on Monday voted 5-2 to award a $69,800 contract to Rock Island-based Missman Inc.
to study the impact of narrowing the street. The consultants also will look improving pedestrian access along the avenue and to nearby Schwiebert Park and the Mississippi River.

Funding for the study comes from the city's downtown tax increment financing district account.

Mr. Eder said the study was necessary because 1st Avenue is state-controlled. The state will require a traffic analysis before considering a reduction in the number of lanes, he said.

Ald. Kate Hotle, 5th Ward, said she supported the quiet zone because constituents often complain about the noise of train horns. Federal regulations require locomotive engineers to sound train horns at least 15 seconds, and no more than 20 seconds, before public grade crossings.

In a quiet zone, trains could still sound their horns in an emergency but would not be required to do so otherwise.

Alds. Chuck Austin, 7th Ward, and Ivory Clark, 1st Ward, voted against spending the traffic study. Ald. Austin wanted the study wrapped into a broader downtown development study, and Ald. Clark said he would prefer to see the money spent on more pressing needs, such as basic street repairs.

Also on Monday, aldermen approved a special use permit for a two-chair beauty salon in the basement of an office building at 2100 18th Ave. John and Gloria Streiter sought the permit because the area's zoning designation doesn't allow retail and service-type commercial uses.


Local events heading

  Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Col. H.F. Sickless informs us that there will be new organization of troops in this state under the call for more men.
1889 -- 125 years ago: James Normoyle arrived home after graduating from West Point with honors in the class of 1889. He was to report to Fort Brady, Mich., as second lieutenant in the 23rd Infantry.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany and Austria refused an invitation of Sir Edward Grey to join Great Britain at a mediation conference.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Dr. William Mayo, the last of the three famous Mayo brother surgeons, died at the age of 78.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the biggest horse shows of the season was held yesterday at Hillandale Arena on Knoxville Road under the sponsorship of the Illowa Horsemen's Club.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Davenport is like a gigantic carnival this weekend with the Bix Arts Fest taking over 12 square blocks of the downtown area. A festive atmosphere prevailed Friday as thousands of people turned out to sample what the Arts Fest has to offer.

(More History)