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Peace is more important than quiet

September 23, 2011

For years, residents in the Pelanconi Estates neighborhood have pressed for a so-called quiet zone along Glendale’s portion of the San Fernando Road corridor. Plans discussed at a public meeting this week should give them hope: a planned $9.8-million upgrade for two rail crossings that, combined with future safety enhancements at three others, could eventually qualify the stretch for quiet-zone status.

If all the rail crossings get safety improvements, including upgraded signals and impassible vehicle gates, the section could qualify for the quiet designation, meaning train engineers wouldn’t need to sound their horns before each crossing.

But while that would mean more peace and quiet for residents who live near the rail corridor, state officials most likely will — and should — consider the safety implications for the Doran Street crossing, called out as one of the most dangerous in the system due to its proximity to a propane and industrial gas storage facility.

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To send a less obvious, quieter hulking speeding bullet through that intersection defies logic and warnings about the crossing’s potential for disaster.

To be fair, nearby residents, city officials and others have been calling on the California Public Utilities Commission to close the Doran crossing altogether — a move strongly opposed by Los Angeles, the jurisdiction literally on the other side of the tracks.

The outcome of that battle must be the ultimate deciding factor in the quiet-zone determination. There cannot be a quiet rail section with such a dangerous crossing in the mix.

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