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  • Cathy O’Connor

Streetcars taking a spin

If you are in or near downtown Oklahoma City you may see the streetcars moving around on the tracks beginning this week – just not filled with passengers, the way they will be in December. That’s because the city is performing required tests of the new streetcar system until November. The testing phase is a good time to become familiar with the safety rules.

The streetcars will be operated by drivers, will travel in the same traffic lane as cars and will make frequent, brief stops. Streetcars can’t make abrupt stops or move off the tracks to avoid obstacles, so be aware of your surroundings and don’t dart out in front of one. A streetcar traveling at 20 miles per hour takes almost 60 feet to stop, a little longer than a semi-truck.

Other safety considerations:

• When parking on the street be sure to park within the white lines. A streetcar can’t deviate from the track, which means if you park outside the line you could risk damage to your car. Also, parked cars that block the tracks could be towed.

• Cyclists shouldn’t use the lane with the streetcar rails whenever possible. The streetcar rails are flush with the street and bicycle tires can easily get caught in the 2-inch space on either side of the metal rail. To safely change lanes, turn at a 60-to-90-degree angle.

• Generally there are no fences or barriers to separate pedestrians and the streetcar, so be aware of your surroundings. Streetcars will use bells and warning horns but those are not the first line of safety.

Read the full article at The Journal Record

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