As San Antonio fully rolls into summer, residents in City Council District 5 on the South Side are noticing a few changes. A new railroad quiet zone is in place, directing train engineers to refrain from blowing their horns within the crossings of the Lone Star-Del Rio limits. Train horns will still sound in cases of emergency and in advance of adjacent crossings outside of the quiet zone, but frequency of horns at every crossing will cease within the quiet zone. “Establishing the Lonestar Quiet Zone for District 5 was a struggle, but an important one,” Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales said in a news release. “I want to thank every one of my constituents for entrusting me to see this all the way through.”
During the first inaugural weeks of Gonzales’ term, District 5 residents expressed concerns about the blaring trains and said they wanted change soon. Since then, Gonzales has talked with all affected parties, including U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, Union Pacific Railroad, local neighborhood associations. The recent development creates a lasting quality of life impact for the hundreds of residents surrounding the railroad crossings, according to the news release. Two other railroad quiet zones exist elsewhere in the San Antonio area.
“Quiet zones make a tremendous difference in the daily lives of residents,” Gonzales said. “Now, whole communities can better enjoy what makes their District 5 neighborhoods so great.”
Union Pacific Railroad has said it is expected to take several days for the notice of establishment (NOE) to completely circulate among the train engineers along this route. In the event of an emergency, such as the sight of vehicles, pedestrians or animals on the railroad tracks, Union Pacific engineers are legally obligated to blow the horn in order to warn the obstruction.