The City of San Marcos has been working on a project to create "Railroad Quiet Zones" at 19 public crossings in San Marcos. Currently, there are over 30 trains per day moving through San Marcos. A reduction in the noise of the trains, especially during the night, will have a positive effect on the quality of life for our citizens.
When a railroad zone goes 'quiet,' trains are prohibited from using their horns to announce their approach to an intersection unless the conductor sees an obstruction on the tracks or perceives a hazardous situation. Although the intersection improvements will meet federal safety thresholds, motorists will always need to use caution when they cross railroad tracks and obey crossing signs.
In 2013 city crews began a project to upgrade streets that intersect with railroad tracks. The upgrades included:
- The "Ajax" Connector from Hopkins Street to Aquarena Springs Drive
- Adding "No Train Horn" signs
- The Austin-Line 1 track from Posey Road to Charles Austin Drive
- The Austin-Line 2 Track from Posey Road to SH 21
- Building medians at crossings for traffic control and to prevent vehicles from going around crossing gates
- Phase One includes three quiet zones:
- Union Pacific installation of quad gates and constant warning rail circuitry at the Patton Street crossing to detect the approach of trains and to lower and raise crossing gates; other crossings already have this technology
In all, 19 intersections were improved in Phase One. Half of the intersection improvements only needed new signs. Street medians were installed at Posey Road, Centerpoint Road, McCarty Lane, Charles Austin Drive, and two intersections on Hopkins Street. The medians prevent motorists from driving around lowered crossing gates.
Phase Two of the project will be the improvement of the Post Road and Uhland Road crossings and will be completed after the scheduled improvements are made to Loop 82 (Aquarena Springs Overpass).