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Published September 16, 2010, 07:06 PM

GF Planning New Train "Quiet Zones"

Grand Forks is planning on creating quiet zones in certain areas of town.

Loud train whistles are a step closer to being silenced in Grand Forks.

A Quiet Zone in Grand Forks means no more train whistles blowing in certain areas, and downtown will be the first to notice results.

Train whistles will no longer be heard in some areas of Grand Forks as the city enforces a quiet zone.

"What we want to do is move forward as we can with the funding we already have. There's some grants available through the state, there's some other money available that we're applying for." city council member Curt Kreun said.

With some intersections needing medians, warning devices or cross guard rails, Kreun says it will be costly to do the entire city.

"To do absolutely everything that was out there would be $3 million. Well, we don't have $3 million to spend and so we are working with those grants," Kreun said.

Although it could take years for the city to get everything done they want to with the quiet zone, people who work downtown say it could be good for business.

"I guess the main goal for businesses downtown is that we want to keep the downtown vibrant. There's places and businesses closed downtown that maybe wouldn't be if the whistles weren't blowing," assistant manager of Amazing Grains Tyler Clauson said.

Council members say they will start with the least expensive intersections first and go from there.

"We've already taken traffic counts into consideration, we've taken number of trains into consideration and so there's two or three crossings downtown that we can accomplish with a minimal amount of funding."

Kreun says the city has to work with a lot of people to accomplish the quiet zone but people will be happy when it's done.

"We wanted to get one or two in place this summer, but through the bureaucracy with the railroad and the state and federal government. It may not be till next year, but we're still going to try to get one or two this year," Kreun said.

"I think there are people that would live downtown if it weren't for the trains, the whistles. So I can see things picking back up.

City council members say they will work on intersections as they receive the funding," Clauson said.