Study Shows Costs of Quieting Downtown Tracks

Thursday, January 15th 2009, 10:48 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- In Oklahoma City, housing options are growing, particularly in downtown.

With growth comes change, which is what city engineers are considering for the area's railroad crossings.

More than 50 trains blow through downtown Oklahoma City each day, passing by new condos and brownstones.

Brenda Craiger is responsible for marketing a section of the new developments located close to the tracks.

"To hear the train whistle at all times of the day and night is not appealing," Craiger said.

She said sales are still good, but the trains are not a selling point to her potential clients.

Dennis Clowers, an Oklahoma City engineer, said he has heard all about the train noise downtown.

"We hear from the developers a lot," Clowers said.

Residents living at the Central Avenue Villas agree.

"We have a one-and-a-half-year-old son and it does bother him a bit," resident Matt Porter said.

There are 10 crossings downtown, and 10 times each train blows its horn.

An engineering study showed it would cost approximately $5.2 million to make the area a quiet area.

The study recommended closing four of the 10 crossings, and renovating the others to establish the quiet zone.

The overhaul would be the only safe way train companies can agree to not blow the horn.

"Putting in medians so vehicles can't cross over and go around the gate arms and put in double gate arms," Clowers said.

Clowers cautioned the study and potential plan is only the beginning, and there are still many steps before the zone would be established.

The funding for the project still needs to be identified and the proposal and approval process could take two years.