No May day for Markham train horns to stop blowing through city
Won't be end of July at earliest before construction on crossings complete, admits mayor
March 31, 2018
It now seems Mayor Frank Scarpitti’s prediction that having train horn work done “by the end of May” won’t even be close to becoming a reality.
In fact, the tender for the second phase of the horn or whistle crossings has just gone out this week, confirmed the mayor, meaning the work may not even begin until May.
It’s likely whistle-cessation for long-suffering Markham residents won’t happen therefore until late summer.
And that infuriates those who have long campaigned for the policy, like Stop The Horns leader Shanta Sundarason.
“I am livid,” said Sundarason, who lives right next to the GO tracks in Unionville and has been working on the file for four years. Others have been trying to get the horns stopped since 2008.
“I have been assuring all the concerned residents that we are on target, that the city and council realize that this noise pollution is a health hazard and that they are watching closely to ensure we are horn-free by spring/summer 2018,” she said.
The GO train horns blow multiple times throughout the day at numerous stops in Markham as late as 11:30 p.m. and as early as 5:30 a.m.
Scarpitti, who spoke about the issue in December, said the aim then was “to have the next five crossings go out to tender shortly and, depending how long or short our winter is, we're aiming to have the work done by the end of the first quarter. It may slip into May."
That didn’t happen on schedule.
He said the tender will close April 18 and said construction should close by the end of July.
“That ends up completing a good stretch. Then a bylaw has to be brought forward. We have a no-whistle zone. Once this is done, we’ve already approved that,” he said.
He said he wishes it had proceeded, “a little quicker.”
He also said Denison, Kennedy and 16th Avenue crossings will be done as well, with a tender in late April and construction scheduled for late July.
“We’ll then have the whole stretch from when you come into Markham to when you come north of Markham,” Scarpitti added. Once that’s all completed an application needs to be made to Transport Canada for a whistle-cessation exemption.
The cost of silencing the train horns, including all the safety measures that must be put in place, totals $6 million split between Markham and York Region taxpayers.