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Menlo Park Leaders May Seek Quiet Zone For Trains Amid Noise Complaints

MENLO PARK (KPIX 5) – The city of Menlo Park is trying to find a way to silence the dozens of trains that blare their horns as they travel up and down the Peninsula every day.

"They use a horn. They wake up almost everybody by 2 in the morning, 1:30 in the morning," Emilio Lua Gonzalez told KPIX 5.

Trains are required by federal regulation to sound their horn when they approach a street-level crossing as a safety measure. But because Menlo Park's four train crossings are clustered in a roughly one-mile stretch of track, neighbors said the noise becomes non-stop.

"When you have a baby or little kid, you want them to go to sleep. Or maybe, you want to go to sleep. So, anything they can do to make them a little quieter I support," says Susanne Chang.

The Menlo Park City Council is planning to vote to hire a company to conduct a safety analysis of its train crossings and determine if any additional safety measures like gates or warning signs need to be added before the feds would sign off on a quiet zone.

City leaders are also trying to determine the price tag for any proposed changes before moving forward with the plan.

Neighboring Atherton created a quiet zone along its train tracks roughly five years ago and Menlo Park residents have been clamoring for similar action ever since.

"I grew up with train noise as a youngster. If it were late at night, it could get a little overwhelming," said Cosette Dudley.

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