TIPP CITY — A group of residents exploring the establishment of a railroad quiet zone in Tipp City met Wednesday to discuss traffic counts at railroad crossings.
The Quiet Zone Committee was formed to explore the creation of a railroad quiet zone in Tipp City and whether a quiet zone would benefit residents. A quiet zone is a section of rail with one or more public crossings where trains would not sound their horns except in emergency situations.
“Our job is not to just make a quiet zone here in Tipp City, our job is to research and then find out what the best option is for our community,” committee chairman James Trzeciak said.
The Federal Railroad Administration provides regulations for the establishment of quiet zones, which include additional safety measures. The agency has final approval over any requested quiet zone.
The committee heard from Tipp City Police Chief Eric Burris and Sergeant Greg Adkins about traffic counts at railroad crossings. Burris cautioned the board that some of the results are more accurate than others and “should be taken with a grain of salt.”
Adkins said the department’s count was limited by the equipment it had access to, a radar device that is usually used to measure speed. He said that the numbers could be used as a ballpark estimate.
“For example, German Street. The problem we had there is, where this was positioned actually picked up traffic turning into Spring Hill. So we can’t tell you which ones actually did or did not cross the tracks,” Adkins said.
Other numbers are also artificially high because the count coincided with a car show that shut down Main Street, causing more traffic on Plum Street. The South Third Street crossing logged more than 300 cars in one 24-hour period in October, which dropped to 96 cars in a 24-hour period in January, when another railroad crossing was re-opened to traffic.
Committee member Heather Bailey said the board wanted traffic counts to see which crossing has the least amount of traffic and could potentially be closed. She added that the committee also received numbers from the Ohio Rail Development Commission.
Trzeciak said closing a crossing would cut down on safety risk and increase the chance of receiving funding for additional security measures at other public railroad crossings.
“By closing a crossing you are increasing the safety to 100 percent, basically, because there’s not going to be any traffic going through there,” he said. The safety would have to be weighed against the inconvenience to residents, he added.
The group will meet again on April 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Tipp City Government Center. The committee will soon have a page on the city’s website where it will provide more information.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.