Train Whistles Disturb Community – QNS.com

Train Whistles Disturb Community

The Port Washington line of the Long Island Rail Road has been connecting Long Island and Queens commuters to New York’s Penn Station for well over a hundred years, passing through various neighborhoods in Queens, from Woodside to Flushing and finally to Little Neck before heading into Long Island.
Only recently have residents neighboring the train voiced concerns regarding the escalating abuse of train whistles. The Little Neck station on Little Neck Parkway surrounded by a quiet residential area, is a ground level station and by law, LIRR engineers are required to sound their whistles while passing through. The legal standard sounding pattern for trains is two long horn blasts followed by a short and another long blast. Homeowners and residents living in the area adjacent to the Little Neck station and the LIRR tracks feel that some conductors are abusing the law by sounding the horn straight through from the Douglaston Station to the Little Neck Station and beyond.
“At times the trains can be unbearable,” said Howard Boesendahl, local resident. “Over the past five years, the problem has grown progressively worse. I’ve made inquiries and spoke to several people but the problem has yet to be addressed.”
Many residents feel like their complaints are falling on deaf ears and a couple of residents have opted to move out of the area. “I think some of the engineers deliberately lean on the horns,” said Jan Dellin, who has been a part of the Little Neck community for over 50 years. “During the day it does not bother me but at 9 or 10 o’clock it becomes disturbing. I have rental property 40 or 50 feet from the train and it has affected my tenants as well.”
Last week a federal law was passed that would place locomotive sound legislation, specifically how and when they can toot their horns, under the control of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) rather than the state. Warren Flatau, a spokesperson for the FRA said that the new law would supersede all existing state regulations. “The new law also includes the need for quiet zones,” said Flatau. “Communities will be able to get together and assign quiet zones so long as they are considered adequate and safe.” The FRA maintains that they are always willing and prepared to work with the community and the LIRR to do whatever they can to rectify the situation. “We must be formally asked by local officials and we will respond to any complaint,” said Flatau.
The LIRR is aware of the situation and the concerns of the neighborhood. Mike Zinkowsky, a spokesperson for the LIRR has said track work and the constant rotation of crews, has made it hard to enforce the laws. “Having everyone follow certain rules or guidelines is not an easy thing to do,” said Zinkowsky. “I encourage the community to be patient and allow the new law to take effect. If they want, they can always send written complaints with specific times and dates to Brian Dolan, the Vice President of the LIRR.”
Susan Seinfeld, District Manager of Community Board 11, recently learned of the situation and promises to notify the community board members and the chair. “I urge residents to compile complaints and pinpoint the times of each offense so community officials and LIRR management can determine who is operating the trains during these times.”

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