Lately, you’ve not found a lot of CSX coverage here on Lakeland Local. Frankly, I’ve had nothing to add over what the Tribune and Ledger have reported. Also, I believe the project is getting plenty of non-media scrutiny from the Downtown Lakeland Partnership and the Stop CSX in Polk County website. Plus, three Ledger blogs are covering aspects of the CSX story: Tom Palmer, Diane Lacey Allen, and Bill Rufty.
Still, I’ll be watching Monday’s 9 am Lakeland City Commission meeting. According to the agenda, the commission will vote on Resolution 08-007 “Resolution Indicating Support for Alternatives to the Proposed CSX Integrated Logistics Center (ILC) Facility.” You can watch also on the Web or on cable at channel 622.
I fear we’ll hear more about Quiet Zones than rerouting freight trains. You might want to read a Federal report form 2000 (pdf) One telling statistic: “55 percent of the collisions occurred when motorists deliberately drove around lowered gates. These collisions occurred 128 percent more often at crossings with whistle bans than at other crossings.” That’s why to create Quiet Zones you must first install gates that can’t be driven around.
Well, unless you live in Orlando:
Tuesday, Eyewitness News timed the CSX train sitting on the tracks along South Street. It didn’t move for 30 minutes. Traffic was so backed up that drivers started getting out of their cars. Some even lifted up the crossing arms so they could make an illegal u-turn and go around the train.
Eyewitness News confronted a CSX employee, asking what the legal limit is that they can block the road.
“All day,” was the response. — WFTV
Again, this isn’t a noise problem; it’s a traffic problem. We have at least six crossings to consider. Spending money to close New York and create quiet zones is throwing money down a rabbit hole. The zones really aren’t quiet. You can’t silence the rumble of a mile long train. Quiet Zones are not permanent installations. They have to be re-approved every three years. Yes, after they’re constructed you’ll have to maintain them at additional cost. I wonder who will pay for that?