Railroad Quiet Zone

Amtrack crossing through downtown Eugene.

Council Direction for a Railroad Quiet Zone 

On March 9, 2015, the City Council directed staff to pursue a Eugene railroad quiet zone approval with the Federal Railroad Administration using one-way streets and possible crossing closures as alternate supplemental safety measures as needed and direct staff to pursue sources of local funding.

On May 10, 2017, the City Council approved the safety crossing recommendations put forth by an 11-member stakeholder group. The group was charged with reviewing various safety measures required for Eugene to apply for designation as a train-horn quiet zone. The recommendations called for safety improvements at 10 crossings in the downtown and Whiteaker areas.

Over the course of six meetings, the group developed recommendations for the safety measures at the 10 crossings:
  • Van Buren Street – medians
  • Monroe Street – quad gates
  • Madison Street – quad gates
  • Jefferson Street – one-way southbound between First and Fifth avenues
  • Washington Street – quad gates
  • Lawrence Street – medians
  • Lincoln Street – medians
  • Pearl Street – quad gates
  • High Street – quad gates
  • Hilyard Street – return Eighth Avenue to original alignment and construct roundabout on the EWEB Riverfront property
  • Approximately 7,000 lineal feet of fencing to improve safety by keeping pedestrians off the tracks.
Total estimated cost of the preliminary recommended safety measures ranges between $6,835,000 and $7,350,000, however a funding source has not been identified. 

Options for funding these costs are outlined in a financial strategies memo to the citizen panel.

Related Projects

In addition to establishing a train horn quiet zone in the Whiteaker and downtown areas, Eugene is working on several related railroad projects: relocating the rail crossing on Eighth Avenue near Hilyard Street; and supporting a new Amtrak siding west of Willamette Street. Each project has its unique requirements and objectives, but each project impinges on the others:
  • Relocating the rail crossing on Eighth Avenue is needed to make the EWEB riverfront property more conducive to development. The relocation requires the approval of Union Pacific Railroad and state rail agencies. A condition of the relocation is the closure of at least one other at-grade rail crossing.
  • Constructing a new siding for Amtrak trains west of the Eugene Depot would be a state rail project. Staff is confirming the status of planning and funding this major project. When the siding is constructed, the closure of at least one street (currently proposed to be Lawrence Street) probably would be required to accommodate the installation of siding operational equipment. One closure could satisfy both the relocation and the siding closure requirements.