The Hornblowing Rule is possibly the stupidest idea to ever come out of the FRA. It created an elaborate, unfunded Federal mandate for grade crossings. If local communities do not pay ransom — tens of millions of dollars — for grade crossing improvements, then the Feds have them subjected to round-the-clock horn blasts.
In the military, this is known as psyops.
Now in some cases, local communities do pay-up. But in a lot of cases, they simply eliminate the grade crossing — problem solved! For car drivers, it is no big deal. They can drive to the nearest Federally-approved crossing. But for pedestrians or cyclists, this can be a huge inconvenience if the nearest crossing is miles away. Whole neighborhoods can get cut off.
For example, here is a project in Lincoln Nebraska, literally the first one I picked at random from Google:
The red dot indicates roads crossings to be closed, the green dot is the new-and-improved crossing. As you can see, the historic road-grid is now gone, and trips from that neighborhood in the upper left quadrant to the downtown area have become much less direct.
And even when crossings don’t get closed, there can be other stupidity. For example, in San Diego, where “G” Street got converted into a 1-way thoroughfare. Here is an FAQ from the project website:
G Street will be converted from a two-way street to a one-way street (eastbound) from Pacific Highway to Front Street. G Street is already one-way eastbound from Front Street to 1ih Street (Highway 94 entrance). As part of the conversion to one-way, parking along the affected portion of G Street will be converted from parallel to angled parking on the north side of G Street, resulting in an increase of about 18 parking spaces.
Q: Will there be more speeding and traffic on the street due to the conversion of G Street from two-way to one-way from Pacific Highway to Front Street?
A: A traffic study reviewed by the City of San Diego Traffic Engineering Division concluded that there would be no significant impact to traffic patterns and vehicle speed in surrounding neighborhoods.
So in the name of grade crossing “safety”, a local city street morphs into a multi-lane freeway on-ramp.