Maitland officials want SunRail quiet zones



MAITLAND, Fla. - People living or working near a SunRail line could hear the loud trains more than 30 times a day, but the sounds could soon be silenced in the Maitland area.

Mayor Howard Sheiferdecker is working to apply to become a quiet zone so the trains won't blare their horns as they pass.

"It gets pretty noisy," he said.

The change would also increase safety, officials said. Areas with quiet zones are required to add extra safety measures at the railroad crossings since there wouldn't be horns warning drivers a train is coming.

At standard crossings, drivers and pedestrians wait while crossing arms drop on each side of the roadway. In a quiet zone, those arms will go across the road completely.

"So they can't go across and try to get around it," said Sheiferdecker.

The cost for such measures is high. For Maitland's eight railroad crossings, it would've cost the city about $2 million, but this year, the state included $10 million in the budget to fund quiet zones if cities apply for them.

"That's a lot of money and that's a lot of money, so we're excited about this," said Sheiferdecker.

Winter Park leaders have also been fighting for quiet zones. Sheifferdecker said if more cities apply, the state could allocate more money to pay for them.

The mayor said it could take a few years before the quiet zones would be installed.