We asked Select Board Special Election candidates Karen Calton and Kevin Keane for their views on improving railroad crossing safety and establishing a quiet zone in Needham. Their statements are below.
Please note: Safer Quieter Needham does not endorse either candidate. We appreciate the time and attention each candidate has given to this important issue.
"The MBTA Commuter Trains are great. They provide a convenient, efficient, and environmentally-friendly way to commute to and from Boston.
"However, the 6 grade crossings (Needham Golf Course, Oak Street, Great Plain Avenue, May Street, Rosemary Street, and West Street) represent a safety risk, and the train horns blasting 4 times for 15 seconds at 96-110 decibels as they approach each crossing, represent a significant quality-of-life issue for residents.
"Needham should create a quiet zone either by installing four-quadrant gates or creating median strips to prevent motorists or bicyclists from slaloming around gates. These supplemental safety measures would allow Needham to obtain a quiet zone waiver, and train horns would not need to be blasted, except in the case of an emergency.
"Needham should actively explore costs and funding sources, such as state and federal grants, to make the Needham quiet zone a reality."
"My position is to support the recent initiatives of the Select Board to create a placeholder in the Town’s capital improvement plan for the upgrade of the crossings in Needham to
make sure they are Quiet Zone compliant.
"It is my understanding the estimated time that it will take to complete is 5 to 6 years and it will cost somewhere between $3-7 million dollars. As a member of the Select Board, I will
work with the MBTA and a designated consultant and other stakeholders to make sure that the improvements are made in a timely and cost effective manner.
"Ultimately Town Meeting will decide this issue but it would be my position to be fiscally responsible and pragmatic to make this goal a reality."