Downtown Oceanside will become a little quieter this month now that the Federal Rail Authority has approved the city’s request for a quiet zone.
As of July 9, trains will no longer be required to sound their horns at every street crossing, although there is a one-year âbreak-inâ period during which horns can sometimes be used.
After the first year, the warning will only sound when the train engineer determines that there is an emergency or other situation that requires it.
Train noise has long been a top complaint from visitors to Oceanside and downtown residents. Making the area a federally approved quiet zone, where trains no longer have to honk at every crossing, requires a number of public safety improvements.
Encinitas implemented a Quiet Zone in 2019. San Diego has had two since 2012, one in downtown and one in Little Italy.
Oceanside has been striving for its zone of tranquility since at least 2014, when city council approved the expenditure of $ 642,000 for a contract with Irvine-based company RailPros to develop construction plans and other necessary documents. on demand.
The work required improvements such as new sidewalks, traffic lights, signs, lanes and landscaping at five crossings: Surfrider Way, Mission Avenue, Wisconsin Avenue, Oceanside Boulevard and Cassidy Street. The project budget was around $ 8 million, with most of the money coming from state subsidies for transportation.
Downtown residents and business owners, especially hotel owners and managers, have strongly supported this effort.
âAs a destination, we want to enhance those experiences and make them as positive and memorable as possible,â said Leslee Gaul, President of Visit Oceanside at the time.
The zone of calm was originally scheduled to go into effect in June 2019, but took longer for a number of reasons.
Construction started late due to factors such as the difficulty of installing complicated electronic components and locating buried utilities for underground cable placement. Along with federal railroad officials, the city worked with the California Public Utilities Commission, Amtrak, Metrolink, and the North County Transit District on the project.
Federal and state inspectors checked the site in July 2019 and requested additional work, city officials said in a January 2021 press release.
The additional work was completed in early April 2020, but a recent change to the federal ‘risk threshold’ on the five crossings necessitated a reassessment of the Oceanside project due to expected changes in train speed, train volume, suicides and accidents.
Additional upgrades included a pedestrian crossing over the Sprinter lanes to reach the south end of the Oceanside Transit Center and the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of Mission Avenue and Myers Street to increase traffic. security of the quiet area.
The Oceanside Transit Center on South Tremont Street is the county’s busiest station outside of downtown San Diego.
Coaster, Sprinter, and Metrolink commuter trains and Amtrak passenger trains all stop at the Oceanside Transit Center, just two blocks south of Mission Avenue. Freight trains also crisscross the city at all hours, but more frequently at night.
In addition, rail traffic is increasing in the corridor. NCTD recently announced plans to increase the number of weekday coaster trips between Oceanside and San Diego from 22 to 30 starting in October.
Other trains also arrive for weekends and for special events such as the Padres baseball games and the annual San Diego County Fair.