The quiet zone eliminates the need for the train conductor to sound the train’s horn as it crosses roadways near Loveland Station Apartments

Many readers are wanting more information about the pending railroad “quiet zone” in Historic Downtown and about the concrete barriers that will be installed at the West Loveland Avenue railroad crossing.

Following the underground utility work that began this week (When you thought Loveland’s downtown traffic couldn’t get worse…), two permanent concrete medians, non-traversable curbs, a minimum of six inches high, will be installed as part of a railroad quiet zone project. These barriers are designed to prevent vehicles from zigzagging and winding across the railroad tracks on West Loveland Avenue with trains approaching and the gate arms lowered. The barriers will be installed so traffic must stop even though they don’t see a train coming.

In a railroad quiet zone, additional safety measures must be installed to eliminate the need for the train conductor to sound the train’s horn as it crosses roadways. This will cost taxpayers an estimated $50,000

Loveland’s quiet zone in Historic  Downtown, according to a memo written by then, interim city manager, David Duckworth to City Council in January 2014 said, “During the City’s initial discussions with CMC in the summer and fall of 2013, CMC indicated that a quiet zone was a threshold issue for development.” CMC Properties later reached an agreement with the City to build Loveland Station Apartments, a mixed use development in the heart of downtown. The quiet zone is so renters of the “luxury, high-end” apartments won’t hear the train whistle from the tracks adjacent to the development.


Other construction will include

To protect bikers, walkers, and runners, a crossing gate will be installed on the Loveland Bike Trail that provides a full closure of the crossing when a train is active. It is to be completed by the railroad but paid for by the City of Loveland. Estimate is $150,000

At Riverside Drive/East Kemper, a wayside horn will be installed. It is a stationary horn located at the grade crossing designed to provide an audible warning to oncoming motorists of an approaching train. It is to be completed and paid for by the City of Loveland. Estimate is $90,000 to $100,000.

The cost estimate for the work according to Duckworth is approximately $300,000. However the development agreement says City Taxpayers are responsible for the first $300,000 in cost, while the developer pays the next $200,000. Any costs above$500,000 will be split 50%/50% between the City and developer.

The estimated cost for design of the railroad quiet zone is $29,680.

After reviewing the cost of the project on January 28, 2014, council voted unanimously to proceed with the quiet zone.

There has been approximately $4 million total tax dollars, mostly local dollars, invested in the Loveland Station development. CMC Properties paid $180,000 to the City for the property.



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  1. I think taxpayers have the right to vote on so much money being spent. Condos should be there not apartments we need people in homes and 300 more cars will create a mess, what happen to tax payers having a vote on cost of such expense and traffic jam

  2. I had thought it odd that concrete barriers to prevent railroad track workarounds would be considered part of a quiet zone, but having read this I now see the connection. I had envisioned tall, ugly sound barriers like those you see on highways! Improving safety around the tracks and the aural quality of life for those within hearing range seems well worth the $50k.

    Is it accurate to say, rather than “renters of the apartments won’t hear the train whistle”, that there won’t BE train whistles to hear once the area is “up to code” safety wise?

    You don’t mention the RR crossing at SR 48 in front of the Whistle Stop Clay Works? That intersection is closer to downtown than the one on Riverside. Having to traverse all 3 of these crossings multiple times most days, I have seen more people drive around the one on 48 than the one on West Loveland. (In fairness, this is frequently due to gate arm malfunction.) Will barriers be placed there as well? If not, will warning whistles still be heard from trains northeast of the West Loveland crossing as they approach/depart the downtown area?

    In other words: is the “quiet zone” the area where you don’t hear the train whistle, or the area where the whistle does not sound?

  3. PD, don’t worry, the train whistles will not disappear completely. Do you live within their range? I’m guessing not; I do, and the sound ranges from merely annoying to fall-out-of-bed loud.

    Your question about the city’s net is a good one – the agreement with the developer ought to spell out taxes they will be paying. My suspicion is that this was primarily a way to stop the bleeding – that is, paying mortgages & interest on all the land – rather than a way for the city to directly profit financially. My following comments are full of speculation and assumptions. DAVID, this would be a great subject to see explored in the next companion piece on the broader topic of development in Loveland and its impact – positive AND negative – on the city’s residents and businesses.

    Property taxes are levied by the county – the amount that would actually go back to the city versus the school district ought to be easy to find out, so it’s just a matter of waiting to see the final property value and tax.

    Income taxes will only come from people who work in Loveland or who aren’t paying a tax in the locality where their job is (e.g. city of Cincinnati, income tax rate 2.1%). The tax rate of 1% on people in newly created, relatively low-paid jobs (retail clerks, food servers, etc.) doesn’t seem likely to add up to much.

    Sales tax, again, not levied by the city (of 6.75%, 5.75% is the state sales tax and I think the other 1% is county sales tax). Don’t know how Ohio tax dollars flow but fewer and fewer seem to be dribbling their way into cities’ coffers; the few small businesses in the Loveland Station development seem unlikely to make much of an impact on the city’s balance sheet from this angle.

  4. But how much will the city net over say the next 10 years in increased property taxes and income taxes from apartment residents? What’s the city’s projected return on the investment? That is a critical part of this story which is currently missing.

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