MASON CITY, Iowa – The Mason City Council will decide whether to recommend approval for a quite zones project Tuesday, which would reduce the amount of train whistles around town.
If approved, five railroad crossings in Mason City will have additional safety measures or the crossing will be removed altogether, creating a dead end.
Karen Reich of Mason City lives near the railroad crossing on 9th St. NW between North Monroe Avenue and North Jackson Avenue. She said a lot of people use the crossing to drive, bike and walk from one side to another — and she’s worried that will be coming to an end soon.
“You’re taking away something everyone needs and that’s not fair,” said Reich.
Reich said because of her medical disabilities, her daughter and grand kids are moving down the street from her to be closer.
“My oldest granddaughter can’t wait to walk to Grandma’s. If they close that (railroad crossing and sidewalk) down, they wont be able to walk through there. They’ll have to either go to 12th St. or First Street, and that’s too far for a little girl too walk.”
City Engineer Mark Rahm said there are benefits to the project for those living nearby.
“It quiets down, it’s an improvement or benefit to the neighborhood in general.”
Rahm said before the council meeting Tuesday, he will be meeting with the Federal Railroad Administration, the Union Pacific Railroad and the state railroad company to look at the project.
“We have already submitted our proposal for what we want to do at each of these crossings and they have been preliminary approved with them,” said Rahm. ” So we hope we look for a good review tomorrow through the zone and we’ll move forward at that point.”
Residents around Ninth Street NW and Fourth Street SW have requested a public meeting to discuss the project that’s expected to cost over $100,000.