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Orlando Votes To Expand 'Quiet Zones' Near Rail

Orlando City Commissioners vote Monday to continue funding quiet zones along rail lines.

Train conductors won’t have to blow their horns at intersections through these areas, but the city wants to curb more than just sound.

The goal is to make all 26 rail crossings in the city compliant with federal safety standards. Once those standards are met, trains like SunRail can roll through crossing without sounding a warning horn.

Orlando Economic Development Deputy Director FJ Flynn said the city will make the crossings safe by installing additional rail crossing arms and raised medians – to keep drivers from trying to beat the train. "In a lot of cases what the safety enhancements involve is actually a four arm crossing. It would prevent motorists from crossing over and driving around arms,” he said.

“We’re taking care of some of the potential conflicts between vehicles and trains. And particularly downtown, we’re looking at pedestrian to train conflicts,” said Flynn.

He says quiet trains lead to a better quality of life around the tracks.

In total, the city plans to spend about $2 million on the upgrades, with FDOT pitching in $1.3 million. Work can begin as early as this summer.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."