New Westminster British Columbia - Downtown residents may soon be sleeping a little sounder.
New Westminster city council has approved a recommendation prohibiting whistles at Begbie and Front Street plus Fourth Street and Front Street crossings, unless an emergency exists, or a railway safety inspector orders whistle use under a section of the Railway Safety Act.
"It's been a long time coming," said Mayor Jonathan Cote.
"We have been working for a number of years on a whistle cessation program. This is the first achievement, but hopefully it will be the first of a number of crossings where we are able to get the whistles to stop."
Roger Emanuels, the city's manager of design and construction, said the city has been working closely with Transport Canada (TC) and the four railway companies operating in New Westminster, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, Southern Railway of B.C., and Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
Safety audits have been done to determine what's required to achieve whistle cessation at crossings in the city.
According to a staff report, the cost of improvements at the two downtown crossings was $1,271,000, which was funded out of the city's 2016 capital budget.
Emanuels said the city has been working on city-wide whistle cessation since 2011.
"We have allocated $3.75 million for the improvement of crossings," he said.
"There is a total of 22 crossings in the city. Of those, 13 are public crossings and the public crossings are the type of crossings where we require bells, lights, and gates in order to obtain cessation of the whistling."
In addition to costs associated with preparing crossings for whistle cessation, Emanuels said there will also be annual costs for operating and maintaining equipment at these crossings.
Along with the two downtown crossings, the city is also working to put an end to train whistles at crossings in Queensborough, the West End, Sapperton, Derwent Way and Salter Street, Ewen Avenue and Stanley Street, Ewen Avenue and Mercer Street, Ewen Avenue and Furness Street, Ewen Avenue and Brookes Street, 20th Stret and River Drive, Quayside Drive and Laguna Court, Cumberland Street and Columbia Street, Spruce Street and Brunette Avenue, Braid Street and Brunette Avenue, (two sets of crossings at this location.)