Greensboro man starts petition to ‘stop the train noise’ downtown

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Some people in downtown Greensboro think the area is way too loud. They say train conductors are blasting their horns at all hours, disturbing residents and making it hard for some people to work.

James McGinley has been living in downtown Greensboro for around three years, but he’s still not used to the sound.

“It's like having an air horn right next to your bed,” McGinley said.

More than a week ago, he decided to do something about it. McGinley created an online petition for the railroad crossing on Elm Street downtown to become a quiet zone. As of Monday afternoon, it had 60 signatures. More than a dozen people also commented on the site saying things like, "This would make a big difference in the quality of life."

One man who lives not far from the area told FOX8 the noise is not too bad.

“Totally used to it,” Jerald Leimenstoll said.

Leimenstoll says he is more concerned about people’s safety.

“They have to notify people,” Leimenstoll said. “There's too many people who die.”

McGinley says there are things that can be done to make the proposed quiet zone even safer.

“There are cameras and sensors so the train conductor can have an advanced warning if somebody is on the tracks,” McGinley said.

Adam Fisher, the transportation director for Greensboro, says the city has looked into this before and it is possible, but the changes would come at a hefty cost.

McGinley say’s it would be worth it.

“They’ve spent more on renovations down here,” McGinley said.

Fisher says that on top for the $250,000 cost, he’s also not sold on the idea of a quiet zone because of safety concerns. If he was going to recommend a change downtown, he’d propose a wayside horn.

Instead of a conductor blowing a horn on the train, the wayside horn would be placed at the crossing and be a directed toward traffic and pedestrians.