As planning continues for a railroad quiet zone downtown, a public hearing is set for Tuesday on some of the changes that would come with it.
The hearing will be part of the regular meeting of the Corinth Board of Mayor and Aldermen at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The items up for public comment are:
The potential closing of the railroad crossing on Madison Street;
Changing Franklin Street to one-way traffic only, southbound, from Cruise Street to Wick Street;
Changing Taylor Street to one-way traffic only, northbound, from Wick Street to Cruise Street.
The Alliance Community Development Director Lane Yoder said the changes to one-way sections increase safety and are a cost-saving measure, with the same safety measures not required on both sides.
The city anticipates this will allow the addition of some new parking spaces, with diagonal slots available on both sides of the streets.
The Alliance is presenting the quiet zone issue as an economic development matter – something desired by potential property developers. Ward 2 Alderman Ben Albarracin said a developer expressed interest in locating a boutique hotel downtown in the last couple of years but would not consider it without a railroad quiet zone.
“I want to make sure everybody understands this is not going to make Corinth completely quiet, and no train horns at all,” he said. “This is just taking them off one little section of line. If you were telling me we were going to make Corinth a complete quiet zone, that you’d never hear a train horn again, I probably wouldn’t be for that. There’s something to be said for the trains coming through. We take it for granted, but there’s a lot of people that have never seen a train pass through close by.”
But he does see the need for less of the horn noise in the heart of the business district on tracks adjacent to active office buildings and businesses, as well as apartment residences.
The proposed quiet zone includes only the Norfolk-Southern line.
A quiet zone is a section of a rail line with one or more consecutive public highway-rail grade crossings at which locomotive horns are not routinely sounded when trains are approaching. The horns are still sounded in emergency situations and to comply with other railroad or Federal Railroad Administration rules. Each crossing within the zone must have active warning devices such as flashing lights and gates.
The city pursued but did not complete the creation of a quiet zone in 2013.