All they want is a little peace and quiet - is that too much to ask? I am speaking of course about those residents who live in the vicinity of the Norfolk Southern Rail Line near the Beekman Lane, Auten Road, Valley Road, and Roycefield Road grade crossings. Blaring horns, which are sounded several times as the train crosses each of these proximate roads, have proven to be almost unbearable.
Help is on the way! Work began today to turn these grade crossings into Federal Railway Administration approved "Quiet Zones". Funds from an off-site developer contribution and Hillsborough's capital budget will be used to upgrade the roads on each side of these four grade crossings - with raised medians and other improvements - that will make it nearly impossible for a car to cross the tracks when the gates are down.
Making it harder for cars to cross the tracks means the trains don't have to blow their horns! Sounds good so far.
As I have written here before, I have mixed feelings about the Quiet Zones. They will certainly solve the problem with the horns - and I know all about that because I am one of those residents that lives near the tracks - but they may push us further away from the more idealistic goal that I favor, which is to eliminate the crossings altogether by creating road overpasses at three of the intersections, and eliminating one. Building the Quiet Zones means we are now decades away from reconsidering any other options.
I felt the same way, and still do, about E-Z Pass. Sure, people love E-Z Pass because it speeds them through the tolls faster. But the institution of E-Z Pass has pushed us farther and farther away from the more idealistic goal of eliminating Parkway Tolls. I don't see how that will ever be accomplished now that we have invested so much in E-Z Pass.
Here's hoping that all the new found peace and quiet in this corner of the township will lead to some serious, creative, long term solutions to our future problems.