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warreng88
01-25-2011, 07:15 PM
By Brianna Bailey
Journal Record
Oklahoma City reporter - Contact 405-278-2847
Posted: 06:57 PM Tuesday, January 25, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY – Preliminary plans for a railroad quiet zone that would span 10 blocks downtown along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway include an estimated $4 million in traffic improvements designed to make crossings safer or eliminate them altogether.

The BNSF line runs north-south between Oklahoma and Broadway avenues. The proposed quiet zone would stretch from Sixth Street to 16th Street.

“Right now, the trains just about blast constantly through downtown and this would greatly reduce that,” said Jim Lewellyn, project manager for the Oklahoma City Public Works Department. “If we can create a quiet zone in that area, it will encourage development in the area north of downtown.”

Trains that travel up and down the railway are now required to sound their horns at each intersection downtown for safety reasons. Preliminary plans for the quiet zone include traffic improvements like medians and double railroad crossing arms designed to make it safer for the trains to pass through the downtown area without blaring horns, said Steve Mason, chief executive officer and president of Cardinal Engineering.

Oklahoma City has commissioned Mason’s engineering firm to study traffic improvements for the quiet zone and conduct public outreach on the project. Mason also owns property in the area around the train tracks. Over the past five years, Mason remodeled six historic buildings in the area around Ninth Street and Broadway Avenue, sparking new business activity in the area.

Cardinal Engineering has developed an idea to install 100-foot traffic medians along the railroad tracks at Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, 13th and 16th streets and install quadruple traffic gates at 10th Street to keep cars from driving around the traffic arms at the crossing. Railroad crossings at West Park Place, 11th, 14th and 15th streets would be closed off altogether.

“By making these changes, you eliminate the need for the train whistle and it actually becomes safer,” Mason said.

Cardinal Engineering and city officials have conducted several public meetings and discussions with downtown property owners to discuss the proposed quiet zone over the past several months, Mason said.

“This idea was not created in a vacuum,” Mason said. “The city and Cardinal Engineering discussed these changes and we went out and spoke to community about it. I’ve yet to talk to anyone who likes the train whistle. It’s not a pleasant noise.”

After the traffic improvements are built, the Federal Railroad Administration would have to inspect the crossings and sanction the area as a quiet zone, eliminating the need for BNSF trains to sound a horn at each crossing downtown. The trains would still be required to sound at the Santa Fe Train Depot and when conductors spot potential trouble on the tracks, Lewellyn said.

Funding for the traffic improvements and a firm timeline for the project has yet to be put in place.

Oklahoma City hopes to fund the construction through general obligation bonds within the next few years, Lewellyn said.

Easy180
01-25-2011, 07:19 PM
**Cough cough** head down to Moore ** cough cough**

BDP
01-25-2011, 07:27 PM
What's in Moore?

Easy180
01-25-2011, 08:46 PM
Mo tracks

Just hoping Moore considers something similar once the Target dollars start combined with Warren and Walmart

Spartan
01-25-2011, 08:55 PM
They've been trying to do this quiet zone for ten years. It was one of the bullet-point objectives in the 2005 Downtown Strategic Action Plan as well. Glad to see it's finally gaining some steam, to use an appropriate metaphor...

leprechaun
01-25-2011, 08:58 PM
If this will speed up development in the downtown area I am all for it.

Kerry
01-25-2011, 09:02 PM
What are 100-foot traffic medians? Maybe they could install those concrete barriers that come up out of the ground. The gates go down and then these things pop up out of the ground. No one is going around them and they can come up and go down quickly. If they put these in they wouldn't have to close any crossing because they could effectivly seal off the entire rail right of way. If they were put between the crossing gate and the tracks you wouldn;t have to worry about a car being over one when they came up because if it was, it would be hit by the train anyhow.

http://www.minot.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/web/100512-F-9999X-995.jpg

or this

http://ic2.pbase.com/u39/crusader/upload/39440449.DYTTMI.jpg

or this (it is three poles that come up out of the ground)

http://www.herculesfencenc.com/products/Crash_Rated_Fence_with_Barrier_arm_and_Hydraulic_b ollards.jpg

http://www.herculesfencenc.com/products/Crash_rated_Retractable_Bollards.jpg

Spartan
01-25-2011, 10:25 PM
I think automated bollards would be prohibitively expensive.

ljbab728
01-25-2011, 11:21 PM
I think automated bollards would be prohibitively expensive.

Agreed, Spartan. The expense for those kind of barriers can only be justified by some kind of security reasoning.

Larry OKC
01-26-2011, 01:51 AM
Oklahoma City hopes to fund the construction through general obligation bonds within the next few years, Lewellyn said.

Don't hold your breath...Reportedly we won't have another GO bond until the 2007 one has run its course (...a 10-year period, from 2008-2017). Once projects have been identified, included in the bond issue, presumably pass, it can easily be another 10 years before the project can be built. Now we are potentially talking 2027 or beyond for this to happen.

LakeEffect
01-26-2011, 06:54 AM
Don't hold your breath...Reportedly we won't have another GO bond until the 2007 one has run its course (...a 10-year period, from 2008-2017). Once projects have been identified, included in the bond issue, presumably pass, it can easily be another 10 years before the project can be built. Now we are potentially talking 2027 or beyond for this to happen.

The 2007 has Unlisted funds that could be used for this. TIF funds could also play a role.

Sid, the railroads have refused to pay for quiet zones across the country, as far as I've been able to find out. They agree that the crossings will be safer when the system works properly (especially for crossings with 4 gates to close the whole crossing), but if something doesn't work, then the railroad enters into liability. Therefore, no one has really gotten much $$$ out of the railroads. They didn't create the process, the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) did, so the railroads are imposing their own rules on the process via funding.

Kerry
01-26-2011, 07:45 AM
I'm not sure how expensive they are. Disney uses them in multiple places so that can't be that expensive (one of them being the back lot road at Animal Kingdom which has three of them)

shane453
01-26-2011, 08:47 AM
^^ Because Disney is broke?

metro
01-26-2011, 10:42 AM
Larry, you'll see this happen in the next 2-3 years, this has been a long time coming as Spartan said. It won't be a decade or more.

Kerry
01-26-2011, 11:23 AM
^^ Because Disney is broke?

I don't know the financial condition of the Disney Company but if they can put three of these on back-lot road how much could they cost? We don't need ones that are capable of stopping a terrorist attack, just one that will keep a car from driving around or through crossing gates. I am sure they come in a wide range of prices.

They don't give a price but these don't have the appearance of "cost prohibitive"

http://www.tridentdevices.com/securitybollards/

These are 30 inches tall, can go up or down in 4 seconds, and can cycle 1.5 million times before failure.


Deter unauthorized vehicles while providing peace of mind to your employees with the TRIDENT Electric Bollard System. Used extensively for high-security vehicle entrance control applications, the TRIDENT electric bollard system offers an attractive, yet highly secure blockade for facilities such as Corporate Headquarters, Banks and Data Centers, Executive Parking Lots, Courthouses, Stadiums, Museums and Manufacturing plants.



http://www.tridentdevices.com/images/securitybollard/fixed-&-retractable-bollard-line.jpg

Floyd
01-26-2011, 11:34 AM
They did this in downtown Tulsa: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20100219_11_A1_Atrain572615

TheTravellers
01-26-2011, 11:38 AM
I don't know the financial condition of the Disney Company but if they can put three of these on back-lot road how much could they cost? We don't need ones that are capable of stopping a terrorist attack, just one that will keep a car from driving around or through crossing gates. I am sure they come in a wide range of prices.

They don't give a price but these don't have the appearance of "cost prohibitive"

http://www.tridentdevices.com/securitybollards/

These are 30 inches tall, can go up or down in 4 seconds, and can cycle 1.5 million times before failure.



http://www.tridentdevices.com/images/securitybollard/fixed-&-retractable-bollard-line.jpg

Compared to putting up a few more crossing gates, and "100 foot traffic medians" (whatever those might be, although I think they may be a bunch of 3-4 ft high poles along the center line on each side of the crossing, which is what they have at a bunch of grade crossings in IL), tearing up the street and installing those things would be waaaaaay more costly and IMO, like killing a fly with a sledgehammer. Those kinds of bollards may be justified in very high traffic areas with major amounts of cars blowing through the crossings and people getting killed often (in the Chicago burbs, for example), but I don't think they're justified here in OKC.

Kerry
01-26-2011, 11:44 AM
Compared to putting up a few more crossing gates, and "100 foot traffic medians" (whatever those might be, although I think they may be a bunch of 3-4 ft high poles along the center line on each side of the crossing, which is what they have at a bunch of grade crossings in IL), tearing up the street and installing those things would be waaaaaay more costly and IMO, like killing a fly with a sledgehammer. Those kinds of bollards may be justified in very high traffic areas with major amounts of cars blowing through the crossings and people getting killed often (in the Chicago burbs, for example), but I don't think they're justified here in OKC.

How much do you think they cost? In just the little internet researching I have done I am seeing these things used everywhere, even in bus lanes to keep cars out. I don't think they are as expensive as you guys think they are.

On edit - the more I see where these things are used the more I am going to call BS on those that think they are too expensive.

mhare200
01-26-2011, 11:57 AM
I have seen these devices used in Chicago to increase railroad safety, very effective and low cost to boot.http://www.qwickkurb.com

OKCisOK4me
01-26-2011, 12:17 PM
Well, at least us train enthusiasts will get a few more years of hearing that good ole wail!

Also, it'll be most interesting when this thing gets into place and then people start complaining about Union Pacific because they have that street crossing near Reno & Lincoln. Granted that line is not as busy as BNSF but I guarantee you NIMBYs will be pushing for that to be converted as well.

zrfdude
01-26-2011, 12:27 PM
Compared to putting up a few more crossing gates, and "100 foot traffic medians"

Basically either the entire crossing must have arms or there needs to be a median so that cars are unable to go around the arms that are just on one side. I believe that measurement would refer to a length, not a width. The Duffy St. crossing in Norman would be an example of what they're talking about.

betts
01-26-2011, 12:28 PM
Well, at least us train enthusiasts will get a few more years of hearing that good ole wail!

I'm not sure how I feel about that. Usually I like train horns but I was awake in the middle of the night last night and someone was goofing around with the horn, it sounded like. I believe they were not moving and it sounded like the guy was playing a tune with the horn. Or two trains were playing dueling horns. It's the only time I remember being annoyed by train noise.

metro
01-26-2011, 01:28 PM
I agree I bet the retractable bollards are cheaper.

OKCisOK4me
01-26-2011, 01:56 PM
I'm not sure how I feel about that. Usually I like train horns but I was awake in the middle of the night last night and someone was goofing around with the horn, it sounded like. I believe they were not moving and it sounded like the guy was playing a tune with the horn. Or two trains were playing dueling horns. It's the only time I remember being annoyed by train noise.

All the old houses north of Edmond Road/2nd St. in Edmond that back up to the tracks--those residents, that I know of, have never brought up the issue (and if they have it's not on any Edmond city agenda that I know of) of horns blowing through there and there's at least 3 street crossings between Edmond Road and Danforth.

I don't really know if the above is a grammatical sentence, lol...

Kerry
01-26-2011, 02:05 PM
All the old houses north of Edmond Road/2nd St. in Edmond that back up to the tracks--those residents, that I know of, have never brought up the issue (and if they have it's not on any Edmond city agenda that I know of) of horns blowing through there and there's at least 3 street crossings between Edmond Road and Danforth.


I worked for 3 months in Monroe, LA and my hotel room was right next to the tracks at a crossing. The crossing was elevated and my room was on the second floor which mean my window was at the exact same height as the the train's horn. For the first 2 weeks every train woke me up. I slept in about 1 hour increments. After the thrird week I got so used to it I never heard another train for the next 2 months. At one point I even asked the front desk if trains were still running at night. My point is, you get used to it pretty quickly so you don't even notice them, but hotel guest (other than me) don't live next to the tracks long enough to get used to it.

TheTravellers
01-26-2011, 02:29 PM
I agree I bet the retractable bollards are cheaper.

May be, but I just don't see how tearing up a street, putting in mechanical systems with controllers, timers, etc. will be cheaper than putting in 2 extra crossing gates and bolting a bunch of yellow and black poles down the middle of the street for 100 feet at each crossing. :dontgetit Guess we'll have to wait for hard numbers on how much each option costs to know for sure...

Kerry
01-26-2011, 02:50 PM
May be, but I just don't see how tearing up a street, putting in mechanical systems with controllers, timers, etc. will be cheaper than putting in 2 extra crossing gates and bolting a bunch of yellow and black poles down the middle of the street for 100 feet at each crossing. :dontgetit Guess we'll have to wait for hard numbers on how much each option costs to know for sure...

I think aesthetics will play a part here.

bluedogok
01-26-2011, 07:32 PM
All the old houses north of Edmond Road/2nd St. in Edmond that back up to the tracks--those residents, that I know of, have never brought up the issue (and if they have it's not on any Edmond city agenda that I know of) of horns blowing through there and there's at least 3 street crossings between Edmond Road and Danforth.
I lived in the duplexes between Fretz and the tracks there at Danforth for a year. I was about 5 or so units from Fretz and on the east side of the unit and I never really noticed the horns that much. About the only time that I did was on cold, clear nights and if I didn't have something else on at the time. We hear the trains more now being two blocks from the main N-S line through Austin but they have done the median crossing and made it a quiet zone at night in the past year but that still doesn't do anything about the other noise but for the most part you get used to it.

OKCisOK4me
01-26-2011, 08:56 PM
Exactly, you get used to it. You could always buy some noise canceling headphones.

Jethrol
01-26-2011, 09:29 PM
Wait....so the horns is what's causing people to not develop those areas? :rolleyes: yeah right

Larry OKC
01-26-2011, 09:54 PM
Larry, you'll see this happen in the next 2-3 years, this has been a long time coming as Spartan said. It won't be a decade or more.

Are you saying the funds have already been secured from the "unlisted" projects mentioned form the '07 bond issue?

betts
01-27-2011, 01:12 AM
Wait....so the horns is what's causing people to not develop those areas? :rolleyes: yeah right

I've heard Bert Belanger saying he was waiting for a quiet zone to develop on Broadway at a ULI meeting a couple of years ago. Don't know if that's the only reason he hasn't gone ahead, but he did say it.

Here's a quote from him I found in Steve's blog:

9 – The Quiet Zone (property owners are seeking new gates along the BNSF railroad to quiet train noise as it passes through the Flat Iron district) is a threshold need that must happen first BEFORE any other project Downtown – it is absolutely essential to any private project of scale, and will create incremental value on both sides of the tracks for miles East and West, North and South.

http://blog.newsok.com/okccentral/2009/07/31/1958/

Kerry
01-27-2011, 06:17 AM
Wait....so the horns is what's causing people to not develop those areas? :rolleyes: yeah right

I think that is jist of it. Would you buy a condo or move into an apartment next to a heavy use railroad if during the walk-thru a loud train goes by and the realtor says, "Don't worry, you'll get used to it."? You would probably think to yourself, I don't want to get used to it.

TheTravellers
01-27-2011, 12:10 PM
I think aesthetics will play a part here.

Aesthetics don't always play a part in safety projects, but they probably should. These poles aren't that horrible, but then again I saw them all over the place in IL, so I guess you get used to them. Here's what they look like and they're usually placed in a single line a few feet apart down the middle of the street: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/tools_solve/ped_scdproj/sys_impact_rpt/images/fig7.jpg

If that's not an option, then something like might still be cheaper than bollards, but would also require tearing up the street: http://www.ci.gillette.wy.us/Modules/ShowImage.aspx?imageid=1740

Kerry
01-27-2011, 12:24 PM
Imagine 100 feet of those yellow and black pole on each side of the crossing, for 5 crossings. That is 1,000' of black and yellow poles.

OKCisOK4me
01-27-2011, 12:36 PM
I think that is jist of it. Would you buy a condo or move into an apartment next to a heavy use railroad if during the walk-thru a loud train goes by and the realtor says, "Don't worry, you'll get used to it."? You would probably think to yourself, I don't want to get used to it.

I eventually got used to not having cable, lol.

betts
01-27-2011, 01:16 PM
Regardless of whether most people get used to it or not (I did), most people don't want to think about getting used to it, just as Kerry said. They have no proof they'll get used to it and so it's a risk. The majority of people don't like taking that kind of real estate risk with their money. The quiet zone will help Maywood, and it will help spur development north along the tracks, I believe.

TheTravellers
01-27-2011, 01:24 PM
Imagine 100 feet of those yellow and black pole on each side of the crossing, for 5 crossings. That is 1,000' of black and yellow poles.

I don't have to imagine it, I saw them a lot in the different places I've lived. Not sure how many feet on each side of the crossings they were lined up for, but not a big deal, IMO, it's just another part of the streetscape. And it's not like it'll be 1000' of contiguous poles, since we all know it's for 5 different crossings, so I'm not sure why you said that part, unless it was for the cost.

BoulderSooner
01-30-2013, 12:28 PM
just an update Heritage Hills at their last neighborhood meeting pledged to contribute $30,000 toward the quiet zone

RadicalModerate
01-30-2013, 12:38 PM
Is "Heritage Hills" a "person" who can pledge stuff like money?! (gadzooks!)
(or . . . Is it nothing more than a hatching nest of undercover Torearians?!!
[insert 'sinister/spooky' Theremin arpeggio, followed by orchestra crash with cymbals]

OMG!!! The ThreadNecroed/Current Event Zombie Apocolypse Is At Hand!!!
Run for your lives . . . away from Heritage Hills and the Imaginary Railroad Tracks that offend them!!!

(ya' know . . . i really and, therefore: selfishly, love and admire the examples of olde-tyme architecture that comprise the claim to fame that is labeled: Heritage Hills. i, simply just, have to wonder about the current crop of supposedly "thinking protoplasm" inhabiting those carefully crafted, nearly handmade, boxes . . . =)

BoulderSooner
01-30-2013, 12:54 PM
Is "Heritage Hills" a "person" who can pledge stuff like money?! (gadzooks!)
(or . . . Is it a hatching nest of undercover Torearians?!!
[insert Theremin arpeggio followed by orchestra crash with cymbals]

Heritage Hills Historic Neighborhood is the HH nieghborhood association ...

warreng88
05-01-2013, 07:16 AM
A years long effort to create a railway quiet zone that would spare downtown 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 Oklahoma City Council.

The quiet zone, if funded, would block off some scarcely traveled crossings and enhance crossing signals and gates at intersections including NW 10 and NW 13. That would allow train engineers to pass through the crossings without sounding a locomotive's horn.

Read the rest of Steve's article: Railway quiet zone funding proposal set to be pitched to Oklahoma City Council | News OK (http://newsok.com/railway-quiet-zone-funding-proposal-set-to-be-pitched-to-oklahoma-city-council/article/3805052?custom_click=pod_headline_financial-news)

Steve
05-01-2013, 07:29 AM
As an aside, Warren, I want to thank you and everyone else on this board for the links to my coverage instead of just copying and pasting - it really is important in terms of keeping me employed!

warreng88
05-01-2013, 08:29 AM
As an aside, Warren, I want to thank you and everyone else on this board for the links to my coverage instead of just copying and pasting - it really is important in terms of keeping me employed!

Happy to do it Steve. I appreciate all the hard work you put into the articles and especially the chats on Friday mornings. I know those can be challenging with all the repeated questions and questions about Whataburger and Waffle House...

Just the facts
05-01-2013, 08:55 AM
It is really amazing how much the railroad breaks up the street grid as it makes it way through OKC (and yes I know the train track was here first). In just 3 miles on the south side it cuts off 29 streets while only providing 8 crossings.

Nick
05-01-2013, 09:21 AM
Nice to see some renewed movement on the quiet zone. I wonder if we could get developers to take another look at previous plans if the quiet zone finally gets implemented?

Plutonic Panda
05-01-2013, 04:31 PM
As an aside, Warren, I want to thank you and everyone else on this board for the links to my coverage instead of just copying and pasting - it really is important in terms of keeping me employed!Just curious, does The Oklahoman keep counts on each link how many people view the articles?

Pete
05-01-2013, 05:18 PM
I continue to be impressed with Cathy O'Connor and the job she is doing with the Economic Development Trust.

That newly-formed group seems to be operating just as hoped: combining lots of different resources to focus on specific initiatives.

O'Connor seems to be very sharp and a great leader, while also playing the politics needed to get consensus and forward movement.

Steve
05-01-2013, 06:24 PM
Just curious, does The Oklahoman keep counts on each link how many people view the articles?

Yes, it does, and it matters greatly to advertisers.

Plutonic Panda
05-01-2013, 07:01 PM
Yes, it does, and it matters greatly to advertisers.So if I clicked on one of your links like 100 times would that count as 100 clicks or would it not count because of my IP?

catch22
05-01-2013, 08:40 PM
They track unique web views. So no matter how many times you opened it on the same computer it'd only count as one view.

Urban Pioneer
05-02-2013, 07:30 AM
How did the dialogue go at Council yesterday?

BoulderSooner
05-02-2013, 10:00 AM
I continue to be impressed with Cathy O'Connor and the job she is doing with the Economic Development Trust.

That newly-formed group seems to be operating just as hoped: combining lots of different resources to focus on specific initiatives.

O'Connor seems to be very sharp and a great leader, while also playing the politics needed to get consensus and forward movement.

i very much agree with this

Nick
05-02-2013, 12:48 PM
How did the dialogue go at Council yesterday?

Anyone?

Nick
05-02-2013, 12:49 PM
i very much agree with this

As do I. She definitely continues to impress.

LakeEffect
05-02-2013, 12:56 PM
Anyone?

I didn't think it was to be discussed. I thought Steve's article said it would go to Council within a month...?

BB37
05-09-2013, 09:48 PM
This project may have started. I was driving south on I235 this morning and chanced to glance west around NE 11th and noticed a new steel barrier blocking the grade crossing. There was another barrier a block south on Park Place. The signal and gate arm were still in place on Park, and there were temporary barricades and "Road Closed" signs up, so these had to have been put up recently.

Steve
05-09-2013, 09:56 PM
Nope. The crossing improvements are unrelated to the quiet zone.

UncleCyrus
05-09-2013, 10:39 PM
Do we know if those crossings will reopen? I noticed the new steel barriers on the 14th street crossing as well. I know that the 12th street crossing has been closed for some time now.

LakeEffect
05-10-2013, 07:35 AM
Nope. The crossing improvements are unrelated to the quiet zone.

Not entirely. I noticed that BNSF installed permanent barricades at 14th, and I think they are doing so at 11th and 12th. Part of the quiet zone plans were/are to permanently close those three crossings. Quiet Zones are often implemented against the will of the railroads, so they advocate for closings as many crossings as possible.