Decision to enact quiet zones positive change for city

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Students and residents will finally be able to rest easy without the blaring of train horns as a result of much-needed improvements recently approved by city councilmembers.

It is no secret that trains are a drawback of living in San Marcos. The sound of trains barreling through town has been a familiar and mostly unwanted background noise to residents and students for decades. The decision to implement quiet zones in San Marcos was a positive move by city councilmembers since it will drastically improve the quality of living of residents and students for years to come. Councilmembers should be commended for taking steps in the right direction to better serve and listen to their constituents.

According to a Feb. 20 University Star article, the Engineering and Capital Improvements Department will construct medians at railroad crossings throughout the city to prevent drivers from bypassing caution arms when they are lowered. After the barriers are installed, the city will be able to enact quiet zones as early as the end of this year. The expected price tag for the project is $1.1 million, according to the same article.

The upgrades offer a two-fold benefit. Not only will quiet zones be implemented but also new safety improvements will stop drivers from endangering themselves in the future. According to an Oct. 29 University Star article, 67 individuals were cited throughout a weeklong operation to catch reckless drivers near the railroad tracks.

While the implementation of the safety upgrades is going to cost the city a pretty penny, it will lead to quiet zones that will benefit students and residents as well as keep reckless drivers from ignoring cautionary road signs. Residents and students sleeping in after a long week of working and studying will be able to sleep soundly without being interrupted by jarring train whistles.

The peace of mind of residents and students is well worth the costs of the railroad crossing safety improvements that will lead to quiet zones. Any costs associated with implementing the quiet zones are justified in the grand scheme of the city’s budget. In the past, city officials have proposed spending more money on projects that would not directly improve the quality of life of residents or students.

For example, a proposed roundabout slated for construction near San Antonio Street and Hunter Road was expected to cost the city $4.2 million, according to a Sept. 4, 2013 University Star article. Thankfully, city councilmembers struck down the idea, preventing a chunk of change from being wasted on an unneeded project.

Ultimately, the quiet zones will greatly benefit the city. Residents cannot put a price tag on the peace of mind they will get from the absence of train whistles and neither should the city.