City gets agreements needed to install railway quiet zones

by Judy Stringer

Aug. 15 city council meeting

As part of its consent agenda, Hudson City Council passed a resolution authorizing two separate maintenance agreements with Norfolk Southern Railway Company that will finally allow the city to install quiet zones for the Hines Hill and Stow Road train track crossings – a project that has been years-in-the-making.

The quiet zones will consist of low profile, concrete medians with reflective delineators posted on top, according to the resolution. Once those are in place, the city can notify the Federal Railroad Administration that the crossings improvements have been made and quiet zone regulations – in which trains are prohibited from sounding locomotive horns except for safety or emergency reasons – can go into effect.

At council’s Aug. 1 workshop, City Engineer Brad Kosco called the maintenance agreements “a big domino piece” for the quiet zone installations. Kosco also noted that the contractor had expected to do the work in the spring and recently requested an increase in compensation due to higher material and labor costs.

“I had gone back and forth a little bit with the negotiation,” he said. “We settled that today, and we’re ready to move forward with the project.”

Also on its consent agenda, council passed a resolution amending the cost of replacing the waterline on state Route 303 between the water treatment plant and Boston Mills Road. Kosco said at the Aug. 1 workshop that the project was initially bid at $2.6 million, and the resolution adds $450,503, necessary because of material and labor increases. He explained that using a 12-inch pipe between Nicholson Drive and Boston Mills averted a larger overage. A 16-inch pipe will still be used from the water plant to Nicholson.

Middleton-Stow ‘No Turn on Red’

Council is slated to vote at its next regular meeting, Sept. 5, on an ordinance that would allow the city to install “No Turn on Red” signs at the Stow and Middleton roads intersection. Earlier discussions, however, have suggested council may table or amend the ordinance.

At the Aug. 1 workshop, council member Chris Banweg said he’s received feedback that the signs are “unnecessary” and would “inhibit traffic when judgment can be used.”

By contrast, council member Scott Ruffer said he’s heard from people who are concerned about more pedestrians crossing the intersection now that sidewalks have been installed. Ellsworth Hill Elementary School is at the southwest corner of the intersection.

“I’m not opposed to parking this and waiting until we get into the school year,” Ruffer said. “But I would actually prefer that we err on the side of safety.”

There was some talk about amending the legislation so that the “No Turn on Red” would only be effective during school hours, similar to signs at the nearby intersection of Stow and Aurora roads.

A July study of the intersection by TMS Engineers of Twinsburg found that “no conditions currently suggest” the signs “are necessary.” There have been no pedestrian or bicycle accidents in the last seven years, according to the study, which also found no issue with sight distances. It did suggest, however, that another review be conducted once school is in session. 

During the Aug. 1 discussion on the signs, council President Chris Foster said the ordinance would be read for the third time at the Sept. 5 meeting, at which time if council doesn’t have enough additional data to make a decision, it can postpone the vote to a later date. ∞