Railroad Quiet Zone

Project Description

In the spring of 2018, Eugene City Council approved funding for the construction of a Railroad Quiet Zone in Downtown Eugene and the Whiteaker neighborhood. Once in place, the quiet zone will eliminate about 70 percent of the overall train horn noise in Eugene.


Creating a whistle-free zone is about improving safety. When engineers blow their train horns, they are trying to alert people of an approaching train. The Railroad Quiet Zone (RRQZ) project is meant to keep people walking, biking and driving off the tracks as a train approaches.


Working with local residents, business owners, train safety experts, and other community leaders, city staff came up with improvements at each of the ten crossings inside the proposed quiet zone. Changes will include medians, quad gates, converting Jefferson Street to a one-way street, and several pedestrian gates.

QuietZoneCompleteOptions2020

Latest Project Information


  • City Staff submitted Crossing Safety Applications to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for all 10 crossings in the fall of 2019 and spring 2020. 
  • Rail representatives and City staff met in July 2020 to conduct an on-site diagnostic review of each of the 10 crossing designs. City staff is currently completing design updates and revisions.
  • Next Step - Preliminary Agreements with Union Pacific for each of the 10 crossings.

Timeline

Project permitting and design is ongoing. Construction is planned for 2021 with Quiet Zone implementation in 2022.

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Final Crossing Designs

 

  • Van Buren Street – quad gates
  • Monroe Street – quad gates
  • Madison Street – quad gates
  • Jefferson Street – one-way southbound between First and Fifth avenues
  • Washington Street – quad gates
  • Lawrence Street – medians
  • Lincoln Street – quad gates
  • Pearl Street – quad gates
  • High Street – quad gates
  • 8th & Hilyard – quad gates
  • Fencing throughout proposed quiet zone to improve safety by keeping pedestrians off the tracks.

Total estimated cost of the safety measures is $7 to $10 million.

Related Projects

In addition to establishing a train horn quiet zone in the Whiteaker and downtown areas, Eugene is working on several related railroad projects: supporting the Downtown Riverfront redevelopment and supporting a new Amtrak siding west of Willamette Street. Each project has its unique requirements and objectives, but each project impinges on the others:


  • The City is moving forward with the transformation of the Downtown Riverfront Property.  The railroad crossing at 8th Ave & Hilyard Street provides a critical link to the redevelopment site.  More information on the project can be found here: Downtown Riverfront
  • Constructing a new siding for Amtrak trains west of the Eugene Depot would be a state rail project. Staff is confirming the status of planning and funding this major project. When the siding is constructed, the closure of at least one street (currently proposed to be Lawrence Street) probably would be required to accommodate the installation of siding operational equipment. One closure could satisfy both the relocation and the siding closure requirements.
  1. RRQZ Citizen Advisory Panel
  2. RRQZ Panel Meeting Notes
  3. Planning Process

The Eugene Public Works Department formed an 11 member citizen advisory panel to provide input on the creation of a Railroad Quiet Zone (RRQZ) Downtown Eugene and the Whiteaker neighborhood. The group met approximately five times over a period of several months to gather information, discuss options, and agree on recommendations that were forwarded to the Eugene City Council. 


The charge of the citizen panel was two-fold:

  1. Provide a recommendation to Public Works staff for supplemental safety measures each crossing in the rail corridor between Hilyard Street and Van Buren Street.
  2. Provide a recommendation for funding supplemental safety measures.

RRQZ Advisory Panel Members

  • Sam Hahn, Whiteaker Community Council (Brad Foster, alternate)
  • Sherrill Necessary, Downtown Neighbors Association (Doug Partridge, alternate)
  • Kelsey Weilbrenner, Residents directly affected (east end)
  • Jonathan Brandt, Residents generally interested (Larry Deckman, alternate)
  • Ron Saylor, Business owners (west end)
  • Jeff Althouse, Business owners (west end) (Tom Moseman, alternate)
  • Casey Barrett, Business owners (east end)
  • Sue Wolling, People who bike, walk or use transit
  • Brittany Quick-Warner, Chamber of Commerce
  • Bill Randall, Planning Commission
  • Eugene Organ, People with disabilities