Thus far in Shakopee Mayor Brad Tabke's term, he says downtown train noise is the most-complained about issue. And he's hearing it loud and clear, just as the residents are hearing the blast of the train horns all the way through town some nights.
"It is frustrating and makes a lot of people angry," Tabke wrote in a blog post today. "Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do about it."
He said Shakopee has a long history with the trains, which bring jobs and he said the benefits far outweigh the problems.
A train conductor must blow the horn at every uncontrolled road crossing for safety – typically, two short and one long. Tabke said while the solution might seem to be putting crossing bars at each crossing, the cost to the city would be more than $1 million. But that's not the biggest problem.
"If we put in all of the crossing bars, the trains would not have to slow down when coming into Shakopee and could buzz through town at high speeds," he said. "High speeds would create an unsafe situation as well as the shaking resulting from high speeds could damage buildings and infrastructure. It is not a good situation."
Adding to the complaint level is the fact that recently the tracks were upgraded to allow larger trains to pass through town more often.
Shakopee City Councilor Matt Lehman is the liaison and representative for the city with the Train Safety Committee. Tabke recommended letting him know of any train-related concerns.
"He lives not far from the tracks and has some of the best understanding of the issues we face as a city with high-volume tracks running through the heart of our town," Tabke said.