I am writing to voice my support for the railroad crossing quiet zone in Cumberland. We live next to the train tracks at the Muirfield Road crossing and feel that safety should be the primary focus of this discussion. The new Downeaster trains will be going upwards of 60 mph, and rather than counting on whistle horns or expensive upgrades to crossing equipment, pursuing the option of channelization at the railroad crossings, as Falmouth is considering, will slow traffic and make the crossings highly visible to drivers.
The traffic channelization devices provide a proved safety benefit without the same costs associated with four-quadrant gate systems. Median barriers that meet the criteria within the Final Rule on the Use of Locomotive Horns at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings are approved supplemental safety measures for the establishment of a quiet zone. Many studies have been performed at locations where driver violations occurred at highway-rail grade crossings. After installation of channelization devices at these locations, a significant reduction in driver violations occurred.
I urge the Cumberland Town Council to seek a quiet zone and investigate the use of channelization at the railroad crossings.