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Rail Crossing Improvement: 6th Avenue and South 19th Street

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About the Project

Pedestrian rail crossing improvements are planned at both the 6th Avenue and S. 19th Street rail crossings. Select improvements include upgraded railroad signals, relocated vehicle railroad gates, the installation of new pedestrian railroad gates, sidewalks, curb ramps, pavement replacement, pavement markings/crosswalks, landscaping, signage and fencing.  

The City and BNSF will each be responsible for completing work in their respective rights-of-way (City to complete all sidewalks, paving, signage, etc.; BNSF will complete all rail gate/signal work).  


Proposed Project Schedule for West End (6th Avenue and S. 19th Street)



Project History & Updates

  • Spring/Fourth Quarter 2023 / First Quarter 2024: City's Contractor anticipated to begin work on site. Duration is expected to be approximately three months, pending weather delays.
  • Third Quarter 2023: City to re-advertise work at 6th Avenue and S. 19th Street for construction. March 2023 – BNSF construction anticipated to begin. BNSF is scheduled to begin rail construction work in March 2023. Phase 1 of the project by BNSF occurred between March 6-10 for the 6th Ave crossing and March 13-17 on the S 19th crossing. 
  • January 2023- Design, permitting and right-of-way activities were completed. September 8, 2022 - The City Contractor’s contract was terminated due to the delays. The project will be re-advertised.
  • June 20, 2022 - BNSF was scheduled to start the work at S. 19th and then proceed to 6th. Work was cancelled as the city received numerous concerns from the residents and businesses in the impacted area related to BNSF’s required four-day, daytime closure at each crossing.

Quiet Zones 

The current project is a safety project intended to provide Supplemental Safety Measures including four quadrant gates on either side of the tracks over the roadway and pedestrian gates at four locations, two on either side of the tracks at the crossings. The city has an agreement with BNSF to complete work within railroad right-of-way including upgrading railroad signals, relocating vehicle railroad gates, and the installation of new pedestrian railroad gates.   The work within railroad right-of-way cannot be completed by a city contractor and must completed by BNSF.  City contract work will include constructing new sidewalks, curb ramps, rail signals/gates, fencing and signage, and pavement and roadway striping.  


The current project to install Supplemental Safety Measures is required to request a Quiet Zone. A Quiet Zone is a section of a rail line at least one-half mile in length that contains one or more consecutive public roadway-rail grade crossings at which locomotive horns are not routinely sounded when trains are approaching the crossings. The prohibited use of train horns at Quiet Zones only applies to trains when approaching and entering crossings. Train horns may be sounded in emergency situations or to comply with other railroad or Federal Railroad Administration rules even within a Quiet Zone.


Once the Supplemental Safety Measures are completed (by both the City and BNSF), we will follow the required steps below and apply to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for the Quiet Zone. Unfortunately, the horns will continue to sound until the Quiet Zone is approved.


Below are the steps required to establish a Quiet Zone:

  • Prepare a Quiet Zone Risk Index (QZRI) following FRA guidelines. The QZRI for each crossing within the proposed Quiet Zone with the Supplementary Safety Measures installed must be determined by the FRA to be as safe as a crossing without Supplementary Safety Measures and with trains sounding their on-board horns.
  • File a Quiet Zone Notice of Intent with rail operators and regulatory agencies. The Notice of Intent must list all the crossings in the proposed Quiet Zone and give a brief explanation of the Supplementary Safety Measures installed within the Quiet Zone. The railroads and state agencies have 60 days in which to provide comments to the City on the proposed plan.
  • Prepare for the operation of the Quiet Zone by providing a Notice of Quiet Zone Establishment to all rail operators and regulatory agencies. The Quiet Zone may take effect no earlier than 21 days after the Notice of Quiet Zone Establishment is mailed.
Please note this will be the City’s first Quiet Zone so we are unsure regarding how long it will take to complete the application process to establish the Quiet Zone or how long it will take the FRA to approve our application.  For now, our best estimate is 6 months to a year following construction of the Supplemental Safety Measures.


Public Outreach

A virtual open house was held on February 17, 2021.  If you were unable to attend, click here to view a recording of the open houseIf you have any questions on the project, contact the Project Manager, Veronicah Munyao at vmunyao@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 325-1152


West End (6th Avenue and S. 19th Street)

Project Funding Sources
City of Tacoma      $1,070,000
Federal Highway Safety and Improvement Grant        $1,304,314
 State Funds     $1,150,000


Contact Information

If you have questions or comments you can contact City of Tacoma Project Manager, Veronicah Munyao, at (253) 325-1152 or by email.