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Neighbors rejoice over quiet zones in West Palm Beach

Posted at 8:51 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 04:50:19-04

A sigh of relief for so many neighbors of the train tracks in West Palm Beach.

The city launched their quiet zones late Monday night.

Click here to read more about the zones.

But just how quiet are they? We asked people who live near the tracks if they notice a difference.

“I can sleep now!” said Lourdes Lezcano, who lives near the Bunker Road intersection.

Her daughter, Daisy Soria, said the loud trains were difficult to deal with.

“It's so close, right behind your house. It’s honking, like hundred thousand times,”she joked. “Now it’s less loudness, more peaceful.”

The horns even drove their neighbors away.

“They had two kids. It was too loud for them. They didn’t want to live here," said Soria.

"Oh I'm just tired and exhausted," said Joy Kerschner, who also lives near the Bunker Road intersection.

That was her response when we last talked to her several months ago, leading up to the Brightline opening. The trains were keeping her up at night.

But on Tuesday, she says she can finally sleep and even walk her dog in peace.

"It's funny because all of the sudden you notice, there's no noise!" she said.

She said as the Brightline train schedule launched, she would even notice a difference in the way conductors would sound the horns.

"Some nights, you'd think, 'Oh, that guy is pissed off,'" she joked. "And he'd just be blaring. And other nights, it would just be beep, beep beep. And that's it."

But city officials worry the trains are too quiet.

“I'm really concerned that people remember to be smart and safe at the crossings because they're not going to be hearing the train horns as they have in the past," said Mayor Jeri Muoio.

Although the noise has decreased, safety has increased. All quiet zone upgrades have “no train horn signs” and added physical barriers.

"If somebody is driving their car across and they don't notice all those red lights and they don't notice those bells, then they probably shouldn't be driving," said Kerschner.

Kerschner believes more work needs to be done.

"Especially children who cross the tracks down at Phipps park, that worries me a bit," she said.

We also took Daisy and Lourdes outside to hear the train for ourselves as it flew by. You can still hear and feel the train, just now, without the horn.

“I’ve been here 10 years already. I don’t wanna leave, I love my place," said Lourdes.

And Kerschner said she's happy she and her neighbors can sleep just a little better this week.

"No earplugs. Yay!" she said.

For those living in Lake Worth, you get your quiet zones effective Monday. For Boca Raton, the goal for you is by the end of the month.

As for Boynton Beach, Brightline said infrastructure upgrades there are about two to three months behind schedule so expect a quiet zone start date sometime in the summer.

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