Residents in North Cambridge, Massachusetts are asking for some peace and quiet after they say trains recently started sounding their horns so loud in their neighborhood, they can hardly sleep.
The Sherman Street crossing is not new, but starting in late June, the horns began blaring on every train that comes through the area. At first, residents thought the noise meant work was being done on the tracks, but then they realized it was a federal regulation that is just now being enforced.
“The first one is at 6:13 a.m. and the last one is after midnight,” resident William Giraldi said. “I have three kids who are jolted awake every single night.”
Up until recently, the crossing was treated as a designated quiet zone, which it was until 2006, but the horns did not start then. According to Cambridge city officials, the change in protocol was only just discovered after an audit was done by Keolis and they began enforcing regulations from the Federal Railroad Administration. The regulation requires them to sound the horns in the area for safety purposes.
MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez said he understands it is a challenge, and they are willing to work with the community, but they have to follow safety protocols first.
The change caught many off guard, including Cambridge Vice Mayor and City Councilor Jan Devereux, who is now working to address the issue. Devereux said a solution requires action in terms of changing the roadway and building a median, but that could create other problems, such as closing off an entry to a parking lot driveway.
“We have totally made it a top priority,” Devereux said. “But none of this can unfortunately happen tomorrow or by the weekend or on a schedule that the residents are demanding.”
City officials are also holding a meeting about the crossing and the steps they plan to take to silence the horns. It is happening July 24 at the Peabody School Auditorium from 6 to 8 p.m.