Viewpoint - October 3, 2012
Letter: Train noise disruptive for library users
Atherton residents who live within a few hundred yards of the Caltrain tracks, who visit the town offices or use the tennis courts, know that the noise created by the current diesel commuter trains is annoying, disruptive and distracting. Electrification will mean quieter rolling stock, but the trains will be just as noisy at advertised high speeds The website at tinyurl.com/noise03 cites stringent limits recommended by the World Health Organization on noise levels for classrooms (akin to libraries) due to external sources. No on F group's implied preference to locate a replacement library at the town center within 100 yards of the Caltrain right of way appears to overlook this recommendation. And why do that when we have the option of putting the new library in the park?
We build up tolerance for discomforts like train noise, telling ourselves that the effect is indeed tolerable and at any rate inevitable. Yet the present situation is different. We need not accept the train noise and disruption in our new library. We need not build a fortress library with double- or triple-glazed windows with views of the parking lot and the tracks. We can put the library in a quiet, green place, distant from whatever future commuter rail holds for our community.
I invite open-minded residents who are tempted to vote against locating the library in the park to attend a weekday Caltrain crossing of Fair Oaks Avenue. Wait a few minutes for another to come in the other direction. Then you may agree it doesn't make sense to put a library at the town center.
Parkwood Drive, Atherton