Oklahoma City turning to “quiet zones” to solve annoying downtown disturbance

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OKLAHOMA CITY - When a train crosses through an intersection, you'll often hear the conductor honk the horn.

It's an easy way to make sure drivers are paying attention and stay safe around the railroad tracks.

However, the blaring horns are doing more than just that.

"I don't know how many come by in a 24-hour period. If I was a guessing man, I'd say 25 to 50," said Ferris O’Brien, owner of The Spy radio station and downtown resident.

O'Brien lives and works a block away from the downtown railroad crossing.

He hears the train at all hours of the day.

"I don't really understand the purpose of them honking their train horns,” O’Brien said.

The constant noise stops business on Automobile Alley in its tracks.

"Where people are picking up and dropping off gear. You just can't do business at all back there," said Allen Aboujeib, with Bluewater Divers.

Now, $4 million in private and public funds will help quiet the trains.

"Now that we have so many residents downtown, it will make a big impact on people's quality of life, I think, to not hear that whistle blowing so often,"said Meg Salyer, Oklahoma City councilwoman.

Officials say quiet zones have already started in some downtown areas. Those spots are completely closed to quiet the trains, which is the top-level of safety.

Busier streets that can't be closed will have interlocking double-crossing bars.

"So that there's no way a car can get around that," said Salyer.

Other streets will also get medians.

It’s a project the city has been working on for more than six years.

"I mean, if you've ever had lunch on 9th St. sitting on a patio at Po' Boys, S&B, Iguana,  I mean you literally have to stop your conversation 10 minutes before the train gets there," O’Brien said.

The “quiet zone” project is expected to be complete by the end of 2015.

 See a mistake? Report a typo here.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.