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Railway quiet zone funding proposal set to be pitched to Oklahoma City Council

A long-running effort to create a railway quiet zone that would spare downtown Oklahoma City residents from being awakened by blaring train horns at 2 a.m. is gaining momentum with a public-private funding proposal set to be submitted next month to the city council.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: May 1, 2013

Similar quiet zones have been established in recent years in Norman and Tulsa. A growing downtown population has long complained about the train noise, and some housing developers say they've lost tenants over what is seen as a nuisance.

Development along Automobile Alley, meanwhile, has continued with some attempts to renovate old warehouses and buildings next to the tracks that run north and south near Deep Deuce, Bricktown and Automobile Alley and the Central Business District. The crossings exist between NW 7 and NW 16.

“We're hearing this is a priority from residents, property owners and developers,” O'Connor said. “Development in the area in the past was very dense and industrial. But as development of mixed uses has taken place in Deep Deuce, Automobile Alley and MidTown, this doesn't work anymore.”

Far-reaching benefits

Mickey Clagg, chairman of the Automobile Alley Association, said the quiet zone should benefit residents and businesses as far north as the Crown Heights neighborhood and as far south as Capitol Hill.

“This is not just for the narrow Automobile Alley strip,” Clagg said. “Heritage Hills will benefit, and they've contributed money to the effort. And by improving these intersections, understand that the trains sound their horns a mile before a crossing. So this will affect noise up to NW 36.”

Clagg added the BNSF Railroad also is looking at closing an intersection at SE 23, which will eliminate the noise further south.

“This is such an issue for so many people,” Clagg said. “The noise pollution is deafening. It even interrupts weddings, and we had churches contributing to this as well. It all comes down to quality of life.”

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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