EMBARK warns drivers of safety before streetcars are fully operational

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OKLAHOMA CITY – In a little over one week, you’ll be able to hop on an Oklahoma City streetcar to get around downtown.

But, before the streetcars are fully operational, EMBARK said it comes with a learning curve for pedestrians, drivers and cyclist.

“After more than 70 years, we’re going to see these streetcars operating and people on board,” said Michael Scroggins with EMBARK.

Oklahoma City’s EMBARK Public Transit System wants to make sure you’re safe when driving around town near the streetcars.

“Be alert,” Scroggins said. “Be aware of what’s going on.”

Scroggins said there’s no reason to be scared of the streetcar. It operates within traffic. Treat it like you would a bus.

“You’re just going to follow along or it will follow you until it will come to a stop at the platforms, so no worries there,” he said. “It will be patient.”

Also, if you’re parking by the streetcar tracks, make sure your entire vehicle is inside of the white line. If not, it might get hit.

“Be sure you look out over your shoulder before you get out of the car because you could open the door into an oncoming streetcar or an oncoming cyclist,” Scroggins said. “You would want to do that.”

You may have noticed a few new signals around downtown, as well.

Scroggins said, if they’re blinking, lit up or you hear a loud noise, a streetcar is coming through. If you choose to ignore it, like at a few red lights where you typically could turn right on red and the signal is lit up, you’ll hit the streetcar.

“It will flash at you when that is going,” he said. “If it’s off, you’re good to go and do what you normally do with traffic.”

Scroggins said, as for cyclists and people riding the scooters around downtown, to watch out for the streetcar tracks. The wheels can get stuck in the grooves.

“The last thing we want to do is put something out there that’s unsafe, and so we are going through every one of those procedures,” he said. “We’ve done quite a bit of training, and we’re going to continue up to Day 1.”

The streetcars will officially start running after the ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. Friday, the 14.

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