OKC Taking Final Steps In Approving Downtown 'Quiet Zone'

Tuesday, November 10th 2015, 4:53 pm
By: Karl Torp

Oklahoma City is taking its final steps in approving its downtown quiet zone.

Train conductors would lay off their whistles for nearly 40 blocks from NE 16th and SE 23rd. But some property owners fear it will doom their businesses and property values.

Safety requirements and crossing arms have been cut down in five places, turning them into permanent dead ends.

Mike Jackson believes the dead end on NE 14th is hurting his business. Jackson owns “Underwater Services” and says truck drivers have a hard time making deliveries because they have to go so far in the reverse.

8/8/2013 Related Story: Quiet Zone Plan In The Works For Trains In Downtown OKC

“There [are] not too many drivers that can do that,” said Jackson about the tricky driving.

Right next door is an abandoned storage building. Its owners say the delivery dilemma caused by the permanent crossing closing on NE 14th has scared potential property buyers and renters.

Jackson also says he and the owners of the storage building have been left out of the loop.

“We were never notified,” said Jackson about OKC’s plan to close the crossings.

“There are public notices that do go out,” says OKC Public Works Dir. Eric Wenger.

Public works says it will work with the railroad company to create space on NE 14th for truck drivers to maneuver.

Wenger adds that opening up any of the barricades would need federal approval. OKC hopes to have the quiet zone in place in the Spring 2016. The project costs $3.9 million.