Are you ready for more trains through Edmonds?
The coming decision to approve or disapprove the proposed Whatcom County coal terminal will likely be political.
The decision may already be made, just waiting for all the required public actions and documents to run their course.
If a permit is granted for the coal terminal, Edmonds will see and hear at least nine more coal trains a day through town, all callously blowing their horn whistles up our ears.
If the nine empty coal trains make their round trip back through Edmonds instead of over Stevens Pass, that would add another nine coal trains through Edmonds, plus the approximately 38 other trains that already pass through town ... a total of 56 trains daily.
But wait, there’s more. The recent Washington State Department of Transportation’s “2010-2030 Freight Rail Plan” indicates that WSDOT hopes to increase train capacity through Edmonds to 80 trains a day.
No matter how the coal terminal decision comes out, what is certain is that there will be more trains thundering through Edmonds in the future whether those additional trains carry more coal, more oil, more freight, or more passengers.
So instead of expending all our efforts towards the coal terminal, an outcome that is largely out of our control, why not expend a comparatively little amount of effort towards an outcome that we can control, namely improving rail crossing safety and reducing train whistle noise?
The Federal Railroad Administration provides communities like Edmonds the opportunity to establish safe Quiet Zones at our two rail crossings.
Like most government programs, it’s not an easy or quick process. However, it does offer the option of enormously improving the quality of life for anyone living or visiting anywhere near downtown Edmonds.
Find out more about safe Quiet Zones at this easy-to-read site: http://www.apwa.net/Resources/Reporter/Articles/2005/9/Is-train-horn-noise-a-problem-in-your-town.