Rail commission seeks comments from public about safety changes

Ohio Rail Development Commission officials are seeking public input about safety upgrades and road closures in Tiffin on the heels of a citywide railroad safety improvement project.

According to an ORDC release, the project is to include closing crossings on Holmes and North Monroe streets and improving safety at crossings on SR 18, Perry Street, SR 101, TR 91 and Nelson Street.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said last year the $2.6 million project, which could be of no cost to the city, is to be completed in three phases and could be finished by late 2019 or early 2020.

Montz said the reason for the project is because the city’s risk factor at crossings was deemed high. He said the project will improve the safety of crossings by introducing channelization devices, keeping traffic in its lane, and four-quadrant gate systems. He said the four-quadrant gates prohibit traffic and pedestrians from moving around them.

Montz said the first phase of the project is to close the North Monroe Street railroad crossing.

Tiffin Engineer Mario Livojevic said the street would be permanently closed at Hudson Street on the north side of the tracks while the south side may be converted into a cul-de-sac.

In the second portion of the project, Montz said safety measures will be implemented at the crossings at Clinton Avenue and East Market, East Perry, Wall and Nelson streets.

Montz said the project initially called for the closure of just the North Monroe Street crossing. The project was to cost the city about $150,000.

The committee agreed March 27 to send the proposal to city council, but legislation was tabled May 1 and sent back to the committee to consider an amendment.

Montz asked for the amendment because ORDC and CSX representatives recommended also closing the Holmes Street crossing. He said closing crossings considered to be dangerous could earn the city $200,000-$225,000 per crossing from the ORDC and CSX. Closing the Holmes Street crossing is to make the project potentially cost-neutral for the city. Neither crossing can be closed without a public hearing.

Council agreed to move forward with the project.

The final phase of the project is to include the city applying for a citywide quiet zone, for which Tiffin could qualify if it increases safety at the aforementioned crossings. The citywide quiet zone would forbid conductors from sounding train horns in the city.

Montz said the city averages 434 train blows per day. That’s 18 per hour or one every 3.3 minutes.

He said the quiet zone could be beneficial for economic development.

According to an ORDC release, public comments are welcome regarding the project. To submit feedback, contact

Timothy Brown at (614) 728-5426 or

timothy.brown@dot.ohio.gov. Comments are to be accepted through Feb. 9.