Train whistle ban begins today

· Sep 30, 2001 Tweet

The Madison City Council voted 16-1 July 3 for an ordinance banning the use of train whistles 24 hours a day, seven days a week, unless it is to prevent immediate danger. The ban begins Monday and includes gated and signaled crossings.

Only 11 crossings in Madison will be exempt from the new law.

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, is the ordinance’s key sponsor.

Verveer said the huge council support for the ordinance shows the irritation caused by the whistles.

“Approximately 83 percent of the city’s railroad crossings are gated and signaled and do not require whistles as well,” Verveer said.

Verveer called the annoyance caused by train whistles a “public health issue.”

He said train whistles give a false sense of security, and he hopes that the new law will encourage the public to become more educated on railroad-crossing safety.

Ald. Santiago Rosas, District 17, was the only council member to vote against the ordinance and said not blowing the train whistles could increase danger at railroad crossings.

Bill Gardner, president of the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co., said the whistles are a necessity and the company will not stop blowing the whistles throughout the city.

In a July 12 e-mail, Gardner wrote, “We will not honor your whistle ban.”

He also accused the city of passing the whistle ordinance “behind our backs.”

Gardner wrote in an e-mail, “We will be turning over all information to our legal team and will do everything in our power to warn people we are approaching the crossing.”

Verveer said he is determined to enforce the ordinance, whether the police give tickets to engineers or the city that prosecutes the railroad company.


This article was published Sep 30, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Sep 30, 2001 at 12:00 am


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