The A Line horns are loud and disruptive and need to end as soon as possible. The community has been amazingly patient with RTD on this issue. But it’s been more than a year and that patience is wearing out. As the weather warms, windows open, barbecues happen and park playtime increases. The impact of the 144-daily crossings of Ulster and other area streets with horns blaring LOUD-LOUD-SOFT-LOUD at each crossing will become less and less bearable.
We acknowledge the complexities RTD faces in designing the train signaling system. One television reporter at the recent media briefing said RTD’s efforts at explaining the system design made his head hurt. We are also reminded of the Donald Rumsfeld quote: “There are known knowns…But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” Our understanding of PTC and its integration with ATC is certainly limited, even to the point that important questions have probably not been asked because we don’t know enough to ask them.
Even so, it was one thing to have 18 freight trains announce their passage at each crossing. It is literally an order of magnitude difference when 144 commuter rail crossings are added to the mix. RTD, DTP and the FRA owe northeast Denver some relief—and soon. The community deserves full transparency on this matter from RTD and the regulators:
- What is the likelihood that the PTC system will be certified by May?
- What are the options should problems continue to plague the constant warning system?
- Could a quiet zone be established using the ATC, accepting the penalty of longer train trips?
- Could FRA accept a bit more variability in the constant warning time system and allow RTD/DTP more time to perfect the PTC while implementing the quiet zone in the meantime?
Dear RTD and FRA: If the horns keep blaring, pretty soon we won’t be able to hear you.