Downtown Bryan Considering Quiet Zone for Trains

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Downtown Bryan could become a quieter place with a plan in the works by the City Council.

Blaring train horns have been a familiar sound there for more than a century, but now the Bryan City Council is thinking of making downtown a quiet zone to keep business booming.

If you've ever been to Downtown Bryan you've probably crossed paths with a train.

On average 24 trains come through downtown every day making lots of noise.

Erasmo Pineda is all too familiar with it.

His home on 28th Street has tracks just beyond the backyard.

"No every time it comes in here no back here way back there when it's coming in they start blowing the horn that's when about 5:30 I used to have to go to work in the morning that was my alarm, my coffee," said Erasmo Pineda, who lives on 28th Street in Downtown Bryan.

Tuesday afternoon the Bryan City Council heard a presentation about turning one of the train lines into a quiet zone.

While the same amount of trains would be blowing through the amount of horns you hear would be cut in half.

The quiet zone is proposed for what's called the West Line which averages 14 trains a day. The North-South line wouldn't be changed for feasibility reasons and means you'd still hear at least 10 train horns in east downtown every day.

"The quiet zone would actually be from 28th Street crossing near Highway 21 all the way into downtown and south all the way down to the Villa Maria area," said Dale Picha, Director of Traffic and Transportation for Bryan.

"One option is about $165,000 to make treatments at about five crossings to put in medians in the road way that prevents traffic from actually crossing, preventing motorists from making a gate violation at those crossings," he said.

John Remmers is the Regional Manager for Magnolia Hotels which manages the LaSalle Hotel downtown.

"It's really the morning that disturbs our customers. It's not a great nuisance but it certainly would add if they would not blow their horns when most people are sleeping at 3 and 4 in the morning, so that would be a huge advantage for us," said John Remmers.

For other businesses downtown it's just something they've gotten used to as is the case at Old Bryan Marketplace.

" The trains are directly behind us. They don't bother us at all but for in order for downtown really to do well especially the hotel I understand that it is a problem for them, so I would support that," said Kay Conlee, Owner of Old Bryan Marketplace.

"It'd be nice, It would be nice if they could make it quieter," said Erasmo Pineda.

A plan that local residents and businesses are listening to with all ears.

As of January, 26 Texas cities have established quiet zones.

The city council could make a decision on the proposal as early as May.

If approved the funding could possibly come from the transportation user fee tacked on to utility bills.