Quality of life pursuit: San Diego County, La Mesa California. This site has been developed for residents that signed a petition from 44 parcels who are living in homes and are affected by rail noise and horn noise. Several streets near the trolley tracks/rail/crossing are an environment concern pertaining to the quality of life.

More and more supporters are "onboard" yearly with requesting solutions to the excessive noise.
Trolley Hours & Trolley Route   The trolley operates approx. 21 hrs per day. The trolley passes homes an average of 280 times per day with the round trip and doubling back of two trolleys. There is a freight line that runs when the trolley is not running and the trolley and freight operate during sleeping hours.  The horns blow 3 or more times at the crossing. Over 840 to 1000 horns blow regularly per day. There is screeching around curves and on the rail. 
Residents have given authorities an opportunity to mitigate the noise impact affecting quality of life. Residents spoke before the City of La Mesa Council regarding this in 2011 and 2014 in San Diego County California. Public Utilities tested the sound decibel levels but did not address the night hours and excessive trips. The area is over the noise guideline limits. 
Although public transportation is important, residents would like fair treatment.  Quality of life is affected and the location has not been protected. Read on and see a video about the frequency of screeching rail, vibrating freight trips, and excessive horn blowing the residential area has been expected to endure.
VIDEO OF NOISE the trolley makes    Video date: 10/12/2011 Noise Video Trolley  Example of the noise rail trolley element and environmental impact.  Location: Tracks crossing Severin Dr. to Murray Dr. along Water St. and Loren Dr.   Orange and Green Lines San Diego County, Residential community of  La Mesa California near Amaya Station.
Evidence of decibels being too loud is below-->
Night Guidelines Public Utilities ignored in their letter of response to residents below
The community was identified for noise elements over 20 years ago in the City of La Mesa California's General Plan. This point was brought to the City of La Mesa's attention in 2011 and again in 2014.  Residents also have brought the noise situation to the attention of the MTS Board, the City of La Mesa planners and the City of La Mesa's Council Board, the Public Utilities Commission, SanDag, Caltrans, San Diego County, and others. 
 In the year 2011, residents requested the noise affected locations to be included in the new La Mesa General plan being developed.  Residents are wondering why planners and developers have not corrected items that they know exist. The community has joined together to request mitigation. Should the community even have to be put in this position to ask in the first place?  Why was the community unprotected with planning and developments? Other areas are protected. Downtown has quiet zones. Below is a letter from Public Utilities who did not measure decibels during night hours. Night hours have stricter guidelines.
                                              DOWNLOAD:  Decibels_Letter 
Decibel levels do not appear accurate in the La Mesa General Plan Noise Element below when compared to the Public Utilities testing in the letter above.

La Mesa General Plan

Mitigation is requested to fix the unhealthy sound levels identified in a FRA decibel chart. PUC did a partial test of the decibel levels that was represented in a letter from MTS. Screeching levels were higher than acceptable by FRA decibel guidelines especially for nights which is the main complaint of residents along with horn blowing and excessive trips.Night hours of operation and trip frequency have been requested to be investigated and tested for decibel level compliance.

Benefits of Mitigation

  •  A Healthier environment and a better quality of life for residents and visitors to the area.
  •  Residents could enjoy a better nights sleep and spend more time outdoors in their yards.
  • The area could be more beautiful with walkways, bike paths, and possible soundwalls.
  • The crossing could be safer with mitigation.
 Rails need to be maintained
Neleco and Synco had a scientist hired by MTSB to develop a  Rail Noise-Suppression Lubricant -due to the complaints and screeching: (lubrications systems)
Quiet Zones are possible
    The list of CPUC list of Quiet Zones shows as of April 2013: 
  • 36 Established FRA Quiet Zones (181 crossings)
  • 5 corridors with Wayside Horns (15 crossings)
  • As for horns all night, Downtown San Diego got a Quiet Zone for 13 crossings. Citizens depend on government to protect.
  • Modifying existing rail:
Excessive Trips? The trolley passes an approx. 280 times per a 24 hour period each day during the week. Public Utilities tested sound levels due to resident pressure to do so. Residents want rules and guidelines already in place to protect them. Residents want night tests to be performed.  Environment has been impacted and quality of life suffers in this area.
Freight rail also travels during hours of 12am -4:30am. There are helicopters, freeways, and interstate. The area has a hospice, schools, parks, churches , apartments, condos, and many owned houses valued at over $400,000 as well as low income housing near the Severin crossing.
Residents also think the Severin Dr. crossing is poor design and there is much congestion in the area.  You can watch the trolley go by with empty cars and very low amount of riders at night. The trips seem excessive. Horns are blowing blowing blowing through the night.  
San Diego County could possibly save money with fewer trolley trips and a small shuttle to take the few riders in the night to El Cajon, Downtown San Diego, and Santee. During special events, a few trolleys could be added. Residents believe public transit is a value but this is an example of excessive waste of energy, money, and environment is a concern.
Vicinity Map of Noise Location: The area of 1960 homes was identified in 1989 for environment decibel impact and has gotten worse and worse with transportation expansion. Statistics indicate that there can be more crime in areas that are impacted by noise and the quality of life may be reduced considerably. (Trolley Tracks are locaed at base of Slope at Loren Drive (adjacent to Water St between Severin Dr. and Murray Dr. La Mesa California 91942)  
Authorities know there are sound problems. PUC knows. The MTS and La Mesa Boards know. Residents have provided them all with the information. Levels are higher than acceptable during the night. Train Horn Rule:
Historical Document Noise Element 1989    

Residents say that the La Mesa General Plan Draft Noise Element below did not represent accurate decibel levels for the area. The draft below was made in 2012 which is after the decibel testing by the Public Utilities in 2011.
A La Mesa City Council Member provided the Public Utilities decibel letter to residents. The Council Member was on the board for MTS. Residents spoke before both the MTS Board and the La Mesa Council in 2011.
 Action Log File:

9/29/11 Documents regarding Noise Element submitted to City of La Mesa  and Request for noise reduction was submitted to: City of La Mesa, Chris Jacobs Senior Planner,Chris Jacobs provided info.

9/29/11 Letter submitted to City of La Mesa Council members  

9/30/2011 Letter submitted to SANDAG and  CALTRANS

9/30/2011 Flyers passed out to neighbors on Loren Drive 

10/3/2011 Spoke with City of La Mesa planner  

10/10/11 Received a letter from La Mesa City planner

10/13/11  MTS (Metropolitan Transit) Council Board Meeting was attended by 2 Loren Dr. residents that spoke during Public comments. The MTS Board requested 20 copies of materials including video. (one for each member) The digital copies are to be provided to the MTS board council members in one week.

10/14/2011   La Mesa Council member called a resident who spoke during Public Comments at the  MTS board meeting and requested to review documents and video of trolley noise as soon as possible. 

10/15/11  More residents interviewed about what noise elements bother them besides the trolley. Some mentioned are: Interstate 8, Freight Line, Air traffic, School PA.

10/15/11 Council member was provided the info he requested via email and video of the noise the trolley makes was converted and uploaded to web format.

10/16/11  Request material created for 20 MTS Council Board members regarding the noise element.

10/17/11  Media Interest: Reporter request to interview residents.

10/17/11  Interviewed-Article:

10/24/11  Passed flyers to Water Street Area  

10/25/11  Provided Public Comment at City of La Mesa Board meeting Presented DVD and Digital Files to 9 La Mesa Council Board members
10/27/11 Delivered 15 copies of DVDs, Digital Docs to MTS Council Board
11/8/11  Quiet Zone Review is on the Agenda of the City of La Mesa Board
Public is invited to attend 4pm (City Hall-Side entrance) 8130 Allison Ave. La Mesa, CA 91942
11/10/11 Attended MTS Board Meeting and requested to be on the Dec. 8th Agenda. Letter read to be added to site in a couple days. 
11/26/11  Petitions were distributed and we are please to report a great response so far! Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! We are back on "track" with moving forward. (Pun intended!)
12/20/2011 Spoke during Public comment MTS Board Meeting and deliverd 82 petitions
12/27/11  Delivered 82 signed Petitions to City of La Mesa
1/8/2012  Mailed petitions to Public Utilities Commission and others of authority.
1/10/2012  Spoke to the La Mesa Board about petitions and received a letter from PUC.

2/5/2012  Sent out more Quiet Zone request packages to FRA and the Utilities Commission. 
2/18/2012  Responded to MTS letter and reviewing public records requests to be submitted.
3/15/2012  Requesting grant money application information and again requested to be in the 
City of La Mesa's General Plan for the noise element study.
4/5/2012 Received Grant application but the City of La Mesa is planning on improving other rail areas rather than our area.
4/12/12   Requested to meet with City of La Mesa Planner regarding being accurately
included for sound levels in the draft of the new City of La Mesa General Plan.
12/30/2012     Saved and filed documents and letters
1/1/13 through 12/31/13     Gathered more resident support and information.
2/2014     Residents voiced their opinions at City of La Mesa Town Hall and Council Meeting.
                                            Link to article:
March 2014  Residents expressed interest in video taping of Severin Drive crossing. 
July 2014     Posting comments to news articles to inform public and catching up on multiple letters received from public. Much public interest regarding noise impacts and lack of protection from authorities.   Public: Let your voice be heard! Noise Trolley is dedicated to contact authorities over and over until something is done to improve the situation and we hope you will do the same for your community.
More Status log Items will be added regularly, so please check back!  
                           Will keep you informed of progress.
Trolley Noise Committee Contact: email:      

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