For many years there has been discussion, planning and progress toward the creation of a quiet zone along the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe rail line between NE Seventh Street and NE 16th Street in downtown Oklahoma City. In recent years the area of interest has expanded to include intersections as far north as Wilshire Boulevard and south to SE 23rd Street. The increase in commercial and residential development downtown prompted the effort, as residents and businesses struggled with the loud sound of the train horns blowing frequently while passing through the area.
Without a quiet zone in place, the Federal Railroad Administration requires train engineers to sound the warning whistles at least 15 seconds in advance of all crossings. The FRA defines a quiet zone as “a stretch of track where the FRA has agreed that trains are not required to routinely sound the horn at each public crossing except in emergencies, such as someone on the track or workers within 25 feet of the track or at the discretion of the crew, as appropriate.”
Closing some intersections and enhancing crossing signals and gates at others will make the tracks safer and will eliminate the need for the constant train whistles blowing in the area. There are several methods by which the crossings will be altered and the corridor will be sealed. Some crossings will be closed completely, some will have quad gates and some will have medians to make it impossible for cars to try to maneuver around the gates. Similar sealed corridors exist in other areas around the country.
Read the full article here in the June 21st edition of The Journal Record.