Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches in downtown Lakeland is a hoppin' place. At lunchtime, it is crammed with customers. Servers are running. Guys behind the counter are calling out orders. But even with all that rattle inside, what goes on outside sometimes overshadows it.
When a train passes by, it is hard to ignore.
"Even when I am inside and it goes by, I have to cover my ears," Stephanie Clark, the manager, told FOX 13 on Friday. "And when I am outside, I can't take it. I run back inside."
Right now, 16 trains a day pass through downtown Lakeland. When the new CSX hub in Winter Haven opens in a year and a half, the number will increase to twenty trains a day.
Many Lakelanders are dreading the additional noise and traffic delays, so the Florida Department of Transportation is searching for a way balance commerce and citizens' concerns.
"Freight is a way we get goods to live our lives, and we have to accept it as part of our lives," said Cindy Clemmons, spokeswoman for FDOT.
The state agency is looking at quiet zones, raising the tracks at intersections so the noise is above driver's heads, or possibly allowing trains to speed up, so they get through town quicker. They are also kicking around the idea of rerouting some of the trains through old phosphate lands to the south.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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