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.”
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.”