The increased and excessive noise of SkyTrain is occurring in locations other than New Westminster and may represent a larger and more costly problem than TransLink is conceding.
Residents living near the track west of Edmonds station, where it parallels Rumble Street, have been complaining to SkyTrain since March of intolerable noise levels averaging 90 decibels westbound and now approaching the same eastbound.
While on the street over 60-metres away, conversations must stop until the trains pass. In homes, the same distance or further from the track windows must be closed to hear TV shows even with increased volume.
There are hundreds of residents affected in this section of the line. The adverse health impacts of continued exposure to excessive noise on humans and their pets are well-documented. Hearing damage begins at 85 db with prolonged exposure.
Our exposure at 40 metres is greater than a motorcycle or lawnmower at eight metres, where ear protection is recommended.
TransLink has responded to our letters with the same explanation regarding the broken track grinder and the same assurances maintenance will be done here in July.
However, grinding was done in 2019 to reduce noise levels almost as bad as current, and rails were replaced a number of years ago, yet residents who have lived here for over 20 years believe the current noise levels are well above any they have experienced.
While we are anxious for the maintenance ASAP, as the noise is intolerable with trains running at 90-second intervals to ensure capacity for social distancing, our experience suggests this grinding needs to be done semi-annually to maintain normal operating levels.
As the problem of pitting in the rails was reported in the late 1980s shortly after the Expo Line opened, it would seem TransLink needs to find a permanent solution to avoid costly annual grinding, and/or premature rail replacement, to ensure the health of residents in nearby communities is not compromised.
Jim Houlahan, Tim Ashman, Doug Pattengale and Nash Djordjevic, Burnaby