The City of Shakopee hired SRF to complete a Train Safety/Quiet Zone Study. The purposes of this study were twofold: The first objective was to assess the impacts to safety resulting from a potential increase in train speed from 10 mph to 25 mph on the Union Pacific (UP) railroad corridor through the downtown area. This speed increase has long been desired by the railroad, and the City wished to gain a better understanding of the risk impacts and potential safety improvements that would offset any increases in risk to the public. SRF completed a risk assessment of the potential speed increase and identified additional crossing improvements sufficient to maintain the existing risk levels throughout the corridor.
The second objective was to review the potential for the implementation of a quiet zone at 18 crossings along the UP rail line through the city. The close proximity of the rail line to residential areas and downtown businesses significantly affects the quality of life for Shakopee residents and businesses. The alignment of the railroad down the middle of 2nd Avenue posed unique challenges in the identification of quiet zone safety improvements. Many common improvements, such as non-traversable medians or channelization devices, were not feasible due to the adjacent parallel roadways. Potential improvements included crossing closures, one-way street configurations, and four-quadrant gates. SRF developed a variety of scenarios to illustrate the pros and cons of each improvement type. Additional analysis included a review of traffic impacts resulting from scenarios with crossing closures.