Peace and Quiet with a No Horn Zone
It is a beautiful summer night in Brainerd, and I have the windows open while I peacefully slumber in the sweet breeze. BLAaaaaaaST. Now I, along with half of the city, have been jolted awake for the fourth time this night by a blaring train horn. Several nearby cities in Minnesota share this feature of Brainerd and Baxter, highly active train tracks going right through the populated area of town — Sartell, Little Falls and Saulk Rapids. However, these cities all have a no horn zone. This means that the trains cannot blow their horns in the city unless there is a possible danger.
Here is an assignment. Look at a map of Brainerd, and circle all of the areas of town that struggle with low property values, ongoing blight, and all of the challenges that go along with these things. Now draw a line through the train tracks. Notice anything? Almost all of these neighborhoods are a stone’s throw from the tracks, and the residents that live there endure constant disruptive train horn blasts. Instituting a no horn zone is something that only the city can do. This is an obvious thing for the city to do to improve the quality of life for its residents, and to make an overall more appealing city for people to move to and invest in.
I am not claiming that establishing a no horn zone would be simple. It will involve ensuring all of our railroad crossings are up to a high safety standard (something we should do regardless), and will involve Brainerd and Baxter working together and agreeing. In the past, a no horn zone has been proposed, but it has always fallen flat because of these two obstacles. They are not insurmountable. I am confident that with three new faces on the city council and a renewed urgency to improve our city, now is the time we can finally make this a reality.
The city governments of Sartell, Little Falls and Saulk Rapids have been able to pull together to make a no horn zone a reality for their cities, resulting in a more peaceful and desirable city to live, work, and play in. Let’s ask the same of our city government.
Please call your Brainerd and Baxter city council representatives if you agree!