space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* From our readers
space
space
Sports Shorts
* 26th Annual Fire Tower Run
* Badgers Continue To Dominate
* Straight-Set Win For Panthers Over Marines
* Cougars Win Catfight
* Ducks Unlimited Sets Fundraiser

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

Marinette Residents Seek Quiet from Train Whistles

The only discussion during Public Comment time at the start of the Marinette City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 2 was in reference to proposed “quiet zones” in which blowing of train whistles would be prohibited in some or all parts of the city, as requested on petitions signed by hundreds of city residents. The gentleman reminded the Council that train whistles are intended to aid in the safety of traffic crossing railroad tracks.

Later in the meeting, however, the council initiated the process of establishing a train horn quiet zone by a unanimous vote authorizing an exploratory study. No money is to be spent at this point. The issue came up again at the Civic Affairs, Traffic and Lights and Cemetery Committee meeting at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, where it had started a month earlier in response to a petition presented by Betsy Jaeger of 1939 Stephenson Street.

At the Sept. 10 committee meeting, Jaeger, speaking on behalf of a dozen citizens present in favor of the quiet zone, stated most of the train traffic is between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., and “it seems within the last three years the horns have been getting louder and louder.” She and other residents had solicited petitions in support of the city implementing a quiet zone.

The committee was advised City Attorney Jonathan Sbar and Public Works Director Brian Miller had talked with a representative from the Federal Railroad Authority. They said the quiet zone was possible, but the process could take 18 to 24 months and many steps would have to take place. The committee asked Miller to determine the cost for the gates and if there were any grants that could be used to defray the cost. The committee on Sept. 10 also unanimously approved a recommendation to City Council that they be authorized to start the process to establish a “Quiet Zone” in the city. That recommendation was unanimously approved at the full Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 2, but with a stipulation that no money be spent at this time, and not without some spirited discussion.

Alderman Brad Behrendt asked if they had ever seen an accident occur due to the malfunction of a train signal, and quiet zone proponent Alderman Dennis Colburn agreed he had. Behrendt wondered if they knew how much the city would be liable for if something like that were to happen, and Colburn replied they weren’t talking about insurance costs, they were talking about train whistles at 3 a.m.

Alderman Dave Buechler said engineers would still be allowed to blow their horns if a safety hazard was present.

Miller explained 69 communities in Wisconsin have established quiet zones, and explained the long and difficult process they would face to establish one.

Alderman Carol Kempka pointed out that Council approval of the committee’s recommendation would simply start the process of initiating a “Quiet Zone,” and there would be no costs to the city without further action.

When the matter was up for committee discussion again on Oct. 8, Miller provided the information requested at the Sept. 10 meeting. Members present were Colburn, Dorothy Kowalski, Scott Wahl and Chair Martha Karban, as well as Mayor Denise Ruleau. Buechler, a committee member, was absent.

Miller reported as he digs into the rules on quiet zones he finds more and more information on what’s involved, and assured them it will be a long process. There are two railroad right of ways in the city, one owned by E&LS and the other by Canadian National. Miller said federal agencies told him since two railroads are involved they cannot simply have a city-wide quiet zone. There are eight public crossings on the Canadian National in the city, of which seven are controlled with gates, lights and timed devices and one, Ella Court, is not.

He said next year E&LS plans to reconstruct a track segment from the main line to Marinette Marine and there are no lights, gates or constant warning devices at any of the eight crossings involved.

Cost to install gates, warning lights and timing devices is approximately $200,000 to $250,000 per crossing, and installation would be at city expense, a total of approximately $2 million if all crossings were taken care of. “There’s no way we can afford that,” he declared.

Just to put signals at the five crossings in the northwest corner of the city would cost about $1.5 million, Miller said. He presented charts showing how the city could be divided into four segments, each with its own quiet zone.

Dismayed by the thought of more trains through the city, a speaker objected, “We don’t want more horns and whistles going off. We want less!” He wondered if they could negotiate with the railroads.

“It’s highly unlikely the railroad will dig into its own pockets for $2 million to defray the cost of those crossings,” Miller replied.

“Adopt a ‘can-do’ attitude and see what grants we can get to help pay for signals,” the speaker urged.

Miller explained the E&LS project is 70 percent funded by a grant from the state, plus a local match of 30 percent.

Jaeger asked if the railroads pay for use of city property and was told they do not, they own all their right of way.

Miller explained more of the quiet zone rules, including an annual report after it is in effect comparing the quiet zone accident rates with accident rate averages at all crossings in the nation, as a means of measuring the safety of the crossings. To keep the quiet zone intact, the quiet zone index must be below the national average.

Miller said in view of some unique situations in Marinette, he has been advised they would do well to hire a consultant before proceeding too far. They would need to analyze the risks for each intersection and how the crossing works. In some cases improvements such as curbs, lane dividers and barriers to prevent traffic from getting into the crossing area from side streets would be required by the Federal Rail Administration (FRA).

A diagnostic team in the FRA will evaluate the plans and if they find them acceptable and rule that they meet the minimum standards, they would make an update on the national rail inventory. Once requirements are met, the city could have a quiet zone designation.

Karban commented that two aldermen have already said they will not vote for the quiet zone if there is a lot of money involved. She was told that DePere did their own quiet zone work, and so did Watertown, but that was before the rules got so strict. “I would like to see us start this on our own and see how far we can get,” she urged. Miller expressed doubt the Council understands the magnitude of the costs that will be involved in bringing the proposed project to reality.

Wahl suggested they try talking to the railroads to see if they can get their engineers to “turn the whistles down a notch,” or not blow them so long.

One of the handful of people present said the trains do not all go through the city with one long horn blast, and they do not all blow the whistles so long and loud. Noise limits are 96 to 110 decibels 100 feet in front of the train and 15 feet above the rail. Horns are not supposed to blow more than a quarter of a mile before they reach the crossing. Most of those present on the quiet zone quest felt the noise levels are greatly exceeded by some trains, but not by others.

“They’re doing it (blowing the whistles) way more than they need to,” Jaeger said. “They don’t all do it, but the ones who do are driving people crazy!”

There also were comments that trains have been clocked traveling through the city at 37 miles per hour. Menasha, by contrast, has a set speed limit of 12 miles per hour for trains.

Karban asked Attorney Sbar to draft a letter to the two railroads, asking them to be mindful of the decibel level on their horns and whistles.

Miller said the only alternative to adding signals and otherwise bringing the crossings up to standards would be to eliminate the unsignaled crossings, a solution the railroads always favor since every crossing they close reduces their liability. However, the city needs to consider access to neighborhoods, not only by residents, but also by law enforcement and emergency vehicles.

Kowalski moved to continue to explore the quiet zones on the main lines, and in the meantime, have Attorney Sbar write a letter to the railroads asking them to obey the laws as they pass through the city. That motion was unanimously approved. Sbar noted that the Council had allocated no money so far, and if they are to continue exploring the options there will be some costs involved.

The final item on the Oct. 8 committee agenda involved complaints about semi-truck traffic on Lester Street. Karban said she has been approached a number of times by people who tell her that three to 10 times each day semis traveling to the Kimberly Clark Paper Mill access it by way of Lester Street instead of taking the curve on Riverside Drive.

Miller suggested three solutions: First, get verification that it really is happening; second, contact the mill and ask for their help, and third, establish weight limits on Lester Street.

Karban said she asked the complainant to keep a log of the trucks, but was told he doesn’t want to get involved.

Karban said they will try to get more concrete information and follow up with it next month.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
10-01-2014Sports
26th Annual Fire Tower Run

10-01-2014Sports
Badgers Continue To Dominate

10-01-2014Sports
Straight-Set Win For Panthers Over Marines

10-01-2014Sports
Cougars Win Catfight

10-01-2014Perspectives
From our readers

10-01-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

10-01-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

10-01-2014Obituaries
Julie A. (Clermont) Swanson

10-01-2014Obituaries
Robert F. Sinkey

10-01-2014Obituaries
Joan Merline

10-01-2014Obituaries
Rev. Ralph C. Merkatoris

10-01-2014Obituaries
Gloria D. Martin 

10-01-2014Obituaries
Anita M. Kresge

10-01-2014Obituaries
Rebecca S. Jones

10-01-2014Obituaries
John H. Jacobs

10-01-2014Obituaries
Kody E. Hannon-Windbiel

10-01-2014Obituaries
Ruth L. Amundsen

10-01-2014Obituaries
Lorraine M. Thomson

10-01-2014Obituaries
Harry Schmidt

10-01-2014Obituaries
Sylvia P. Sanford

10-01-2014Obituaries
Frances B. Pashouwer

10-01-2014Obituaries
Jacob C. "Jake” Neuens

10-01-2014Obituaries
Donald R. Mueller

10-01-2014Obituaries
Nathalie Miller

10-01-2014Obituaries
Veronica J. LaBrosse

10-01-2014Obituaries
Josephine F. Kobus

10-01-2014Obituaries
Lynwood D. Harrand

10-01-2014Obituaries
Ethel L. Gummin

10-01-2014Obituaries
Audrey M. Glass

10-01-2014Obituaries
Virginia Dobbs

10-01-2014Obituaries
Lorraine Axenrod

10-01-2014Obituaries
Jim Ama

10-01-2014Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Fire Auxiliary Craft Fair

10-01-2014Community - Wausaukee
Library Sells Used Books at Fall Fest

10-01-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Fire Department Annual Sportsman Raffle

10-01-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Big Fall Festival is Oct. 4th

10-01-2014Community - Crivitz
Shire to Preach at Faith Church

10-01-2014Community - Crivitz
Over 50 Vendors Expected at Show

10-01-2014Community - Crivitz
105 at Legion Gun/Knife Show

10-01-2014Community - Crivitz
New Life Holds Oktoberfest Oct. 9

10-01-2014Community - Coleman
Open House at Coleman Fire Oct. 12

10-01-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman Legion Lists Sept. 27 Raffle Winners

10-01-2014Community - Coleman
Brazeau Emergency Services Set Oct. 14 Open House

10-01-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman Village Board To Meet

10-01-2014News
City Hosts Diggers At Park Oct. 11th

10-01-2014News
Open House at Coleman Library

10-01-2014Front Page
Peshtigo Historical Day Deemed as Huge Success

10-01-2014Front Page
Marinette/Menominee County Disputes Over Airport Continue

10-01-2014Front Page
Three Trustees Resign From Riverside Cemetery Board

10-01-2014Front Page
Invite One Candidate For Second County Administrator Interview

10-01-2014Front Page
County to Get New Topographical Maps

09-24-2014Sports
Ducks Unlimited Sets Fundraiser

09-24-2014Sports
Niagara Netters At Top Of M-O, Peshtigo And Coleman Not Far Behind

09-24-2014Sports
Another Strong Showing For Peshtigo CC Runners

09-24-2014Sports
The Strong Get Stronger

09-24-2014Perspectives
From our readers

09-24-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

09-24-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

09-24-2014Obituaries
Lyle Whiting

09-24-2014Obituaries
Lorraine Thomson

09-24-2014Obituaries
Bill Teteak

09-24-2014Obituaries
Angelina Szadziewicz

09-24-2014Obituaries
Luella J. Petrin

09-24-2014Obituaries
Dale M. Nutt Sr.

09-24-2014Obituaries
John E. Noonan

09-24-2014Obituaries
Audrey Hranach

09-24-2014Obituaries
Audrey M. Glass

09-24-2014Obituaries
Eugene Chapman Sr.

09-24-2014Obituaries
George R. Behrendt

09-24-2014Obituaries
Alexander F. Zielinski, Sr.

09-24-2014Obituaries
Thomas J. Wichman

09-24-2014Obituaries
Heidi E. Teasdale

09-24-2014Obituaries
Susan Smith

09-24-2014Obituaries
Patricia A. Seguin

09-24-2014Obituaries
Donald M. Podner

09-24-2014Obituaries
Gladys I. Philipps

09-24-2014Obituaries
Jeffrey A. Pecotte

09-24-2014Obituaries
Marcy Olsen

09-24-2014Obituaries
Lorna M. Micheals

09-24-2014Obituaries
Willis W. McDonald, Sr.

09-24-2014Obituaries
Patricia Krueger

09-24-2014Obituaries
Robert J. Hruska

09-24-2014Obituaries
Betty J. Hearty

09-24-2014Obituaries
Patricia R. (Obey) Gustafson

09-24-2014Obituaries
Allen H. Boser

09-24-2014News
Need Blood For Organ Transplants

09-24-2014News
NEWCAP Free Flu Vaccine

09-24-2014News
Date Change for On Camera Event

09-24-2014Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Fire Auxiliary Craft Fair

09-24-2014Community - Wausaukee
Legion Auxiliary Lists 3 Events

09-24-2014Community - Wausaukee
Professional Wrestling at Wausaukee Sept. 27

09-24-2014Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Fire Open House Set

09-24-2014Community - Crivitz
Judge Stichmann To Serve on District OLR

09-24-2014Community - Crivitz
Food Pantry Gets $500 Shopko Grant

09-24-2014Community - Crivitz
CHS Homecoming Week of Sept. 29

09-24-2014Community - Crivitz
New Pottery Studio, Classes in Crivitz

09-24-2014Community - Coleman
Veterans Win Fair Quilts

09-24-2014Community - Coleman
CCBA Lists Area Events

09-24-2014Community - Coleman
Equity Plans Bean Bag Toss League

09-24-2014Community - Coleman
Steiners in Coleman Has New Owners

09-24-2014Front Page
Grover-Porterfield FD Open House a Success

09-24-2014Front Page
Peshtigo Historical Day Parade, Events Saturday

09-24-2014Front Page
To Hold Special Airport Meeting On Thursday

09-24-2014Front Page
Peshtigo Town Constable To Issue Citations For Dumping

09-24-2014Front Page
Lena School District Adopts $4.8 Million Budget

09-17-2014Sports
UPIR Fall Classic Wraps Season, Crowns 2014 Champions

09-17-2014Sports
Coleman, Peshtigo In Five-Game Thriller; Crivitz Over Wausaukee, Lena at Home

09-17-2014Sports
Area Runners Place Well In Shawano

09-17-2014Sports
Another Winning Week For Area Teams

09-17-2014Perspectives
From our readers

09-17-2014Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

09-17-2014Perspectives
Country Cousin

09-17-2014Obituaries
Roberta L. Shelby

09-17-2014Obituaries
Eleanor E. Robinette

09-17-2014Obituaries
Roger E. Pillsbury

09-17-2014Obituaries
Otis E. Goltz

09-17-2014Obituaries
Barb Christensen

09-17-2014Obituaries
Elizabeth J. Baumann

09-17-2014Obituaries
Betty L. Woller

09-17-2014Obituaries
Joyce Wieck

09-17-2014Obituaries
Patricia J. (White) Utley

09-17-2014Obituaries
Mary L. Swanson

09-17-2014Obituaries
Robert T. Sandahl

09-17-2014Obituaries
Monica M. Rymer

09-17-2014Obituaries
Donald L. Noack

09-17-2014Obituaries
Marie T. Naffzinger

09-17-2014Obituaries
Michael G. Motsinger

09-17-2014Obituaries
Eleanor R. Mikula

09-17-2014Obituaries
George J. Medley

09-17-2014Obituaries
Calvin W. Krueger

09-17-2014Obituaries
Virginia Eggen

09-17-2014Obituaries
Richard S. Bozile

09-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Acts On Pier, Mobile Home Violation

09-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Presbyterian Women Oct. 18 Fall Supper

09-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Legion Post 66 Chili Fest Sept. 27

09-17-2014Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Board Receives Public Input, Timber Check

09-17-2014Community - Crivitz
Legion Gun, Knife Show on Sept. 27

09-17-2014Community - Crivitz
19 at Even Monday Cards

09-17-2014Community - Crivitz
Wolverines Sept. 26 Tailgate Party

09-17-2014Community - Crivitz
KC Dinner For Special Friends

09-17-2014Community - Coleman
North Country Kickers Fall Dance on Sept. 27

09-17-2014Community - Coleman
KC Punt, Pass Kick is Sept. 2

09-17-2014Community - Coleman
Coleman Students Return from Educational Trip to Greece, Italy

09-17-2014Community - Coleman
Free Horseshow at Equity Park Sept. 21

09-17-2014News
Balthazor Benefit at Lee’s Foods

09-17-2014News
Grover Porterfield FD Open House is Sept. 20

09-17-2014News
Coleman Legion Flag Disposal Ceremony Sept. 27

09-17-2014News
VA to Hold POW/MIA Recognition Day Sept. 19

09-17-2014Front Page
New Platform for Old Depot, List Oct. Events

09-17-2014Front Page
Peshtigo School To Buy Industrial Park Land


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Do you plan to vote in the November election?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2014
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites