Another milestone for the University Neighborhood in the saga of the Perris Valley Line. Our promised quiet zones are on order. Read the full report.Tuesday’s council item is the formal step required to make it real.
The following comments are from Anne Mayer, Executive Director of RCTC.
- Quiet Zone infrastructure required for implementation was included as a part of the PVL construction package. Each crossing had slightly different requirements but the following is a summary of the types of features(SSM’s) included. Median curb to prevent vehicles from driving around the gates, additional vehicular gates on either side of the crossing, sidewalks, pedestrian gates, fencing, signing and signals. All associated conduit, wiring, batteries, relays, sensors and other appurtenances are also part of the infrastructure.
- The Quiet Zone infrastructure has been constructed and the vehicular crossings are operational. There are pedestrian gates and gate arms that will be installed immediately preceding testing.
- The construction work is substantially complete. As a part of the construction contract close out, we prepare “punch lists” detailing work the contractor must complete/repair prior to our acceptance of the contract. They could have minor clean up/repair work in or near those crossings. None of that work would interfere with final testing or Quiet Zone processing. Testing could lead to subsequent work as well. I understand that the City is also doing some work at various crossings in conjunction with the University Neighborhood Association. I do not know the status of that effort.
- All of the independent testing that can be done has been completed. We are at a point now where we must test those crossings in conjunction with the system. We agree that these crossings are a priority and we will begin the final testing at the north end of the project. As I mentioned, the crossings (including new equipment and subsystems) are currently functioning. The final in-service testing is performed to ensure that all subsystems work in conjunction with each other as designed and all safety concerns are satisfied with the new timing (based on new passenger train speeds). The final in-service testing requires the movement of trains through each individual crossing and through each group of crossings, to verify controls and indications tests and overall functional tests.
- We anticipate that service will start near the end of the year. Final testing will begin in mid-October and our goal is to obtain all necessary clearances in November so that the City can proceed with the Notice. These locations have been prioritized in the final testing processes. We have been working very closely with Metrolink, BNSF, FRA and PUC for several years to ensure that these crossings are Quiet Zone compliant and eligible. The City has reviewed and approved the design and construction. This advance collaboration should result in a simplified and streamlined process. We are in close communication with the City to ensure that they have whatever they need from us to implement.
I understand the importance of these quiet zones to the neighborhood. At this time, I don’t see any impediments to implementation however the final testing phase is crucial. It is the final testing that verifies that the system components are functioning under operating conditions which will allow the City to proceed with Quiet Zone implementation. In fact, it is final testing along the entire corridor that will dictate the service start-up date. The goal of all involved is to have the quiet zones operational before service starts however the timing of the approval process is outside of our direct control. Trains will have to run with horns working until such time as the City completes the process. Testing trains will also be required to use horns. I hope this information is helpful and addresses your questions.
We were not able to use boulders at the Poarch Road crossing as chain link fencing was required by the CPUC for 150 feet on either side of the crossing. The crossing itself will be a tubular framed gate that will sit on a rolling gate rail. I’ve attached a draft plan so you can see what it looks like. This emergency crossing is being constructed to ensure compliance not only with FRA, CPUC, and Metrolink but also with emergency responders requirements. There are a number of specialty safety and emergency access features we are providing at this location and we will likely start testing with interim gates. The final gates installed will be similar to the plan I included. We believe that horns will be required however do not have verification yet on allowances that can or can’t be made at emergency crossings.
Please let me know if you have additional questions
The American Planning Association Daily Planning News offered a concise statement of the issues as you might expect from a professional organization.
When the impacts of economic growth threaten the health of the community and ourÂ environment, then economic and environmental justice demand a high return on taxpayer dollars.Â Professional planners all know this. They also know that politics always plays a role and that’s where the public interest gets left behind. That’s when professionals loose sight of who their professional expertise is supposed to serve. That would be the public.
The RCTC stands ready to defend what will soon become indefensible. They recently settled a lawsuit by the Riverside Unified School District. The District had to sue in order to get obvious mitigation measures.
If our public agencies are forced to sue each other over a project’sÂ mitigation measures, there is likely something more serious being perpetrated on the public than meets the eye.Â Barney Barnett has given us a behind the scenes look at this boon doggle project.
That leaves the University Neighborhood, Sycamore Highlands and parts of Orange Crest to fend for ourselves. The City signed an M.O.U. with the RCTC to get quiet zones for the rest of the City if they agreed not to support any opposition to the Perris Valley Line.
It seems a bit inconsistent for a City proclaiming and celebrating very real achievements in many areas of environmental excellence toÂ remain silent as city residents are forced to sue to have their environmental rights and quality of life protected.Â Read the complaint and suit at: Â 2011.08.23 Petition for Writ of Mandate
Good public transportationÂ policy is generally agreed to add value to the ridership. Cost, convenience and comfort are the ridership drivers that keep public transportation operational and profitable.
The Perris Valley line will be comfortable. But cost and convenience are simply not there. That makes it poor public policy.Â The environmental impacts are being challenged in the Friend’s lawsuit.
The rest of Riverside will soon be enjoying quiet nights and restful sleep. Our wishes for sweet dreams aside, we will be organizing, fund raising and generally having a grand old time celebrating University Neighborhood Values — even if it’s before a judge.
Pass this around to your friends and neighbors. Urge them to sign up to get updates and opportunities for some mirth and fund raising parities – UNA style.
Search Perris Valley Line for related stories.
Burlington Northern’s community contact Lena Kent had a conversation and answered questions from the University neighbors. A resident of the neighborhood, Lena had a first hand understanding of train impacts on our the community.