Letter to the editor: Letter has facts wrong about quiet zone’s cost, benefitsThe letter in Wednesdays’ Sun by Harvey R. Jensen regarding the quiet zone requires factual response. We believe voters need accurate information to make an informed decision regarding this issue.
By: Dan Buchanan and Dwaine Heinrich, The Jamestown Sun
The letter in Wednesdays’ Sun by Harvey R. Jensen regarding the quiet zone requires factual response. We believe voters need accurate information to make an informed decision regarding this issue.
First, the quiet zone does not prohibit locomotive engineers from sounding horns if it appears prudent to do so for safety reasons. It does eliminate the requirement that the new and incredibly shrill horns be sounded nearly continuously through Jamestown. Quieting the trains will assure continued development in the city core and protect existing and future public and private investment. Surveys of city residents have consistently found strong support for improvements downtown.
Closing Third Avenue was not suggested by our committee. Rather, the closing of Third Avenue is related to two issues: a necessity to gain an additional easement from the railroad to widen the city parking lots, and the high cost of installation of quiet-zone safety measures at this particular intersection. Because of the location of the elevator, it would cost about $500,000 to have this intersection remain open. This would also mean that we would not get the easements to expand the parking lots.
The traffic survey Jensen referred to shows Third Avenue Northwest carries less than 19 percent of the daily traffic that Second Avenue Northwest handles. Put another way, the 2004 traffic survey showed some 24,500 cars pass railroad crossings daily in Jamestown. Of that, 1,075, or about 4 percent of that traffic, is on Third Avenue Northwest.
Also, the Jamestown and Rural Fire Departments do not use Third Avenue Southwest.
The quiet zone will be positive for all of Jamestown, from quality of life to increased usage and valuations of underdeveloped areas along the railroad tracks. Because the benefits of a quiet zone, including an increase in our city’s safety index, will benefit all city residents and visitors (for games, special events, shopping and the like) and a special assessment will cover all property, not just homes, the cost will be modest per household, estimated to be some $2.20 per year for 10 years, and far less if legislation to provide a 90 percent match to cities passes in the Legislature.
Some have criticized that residents are being asked to vote on this a second time. Certainly the first election was mishandled from the “get out the information” standpoint. But the concept of giving up and quitting on a good idea because of one setback or failure is not the kind of attitude or work ethic that established or nurtured this city and its residents through many adversities over the past 125 years.
We do not know any successful person or organization who has as its motto “if at first you do not succeed, quit.”
Dan Buchanan and Dwaine Heinrich