Letters to the Editor

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RAIL: Building overpasses would be overkill

Letter by Lowell E. Kiesow, Parkland on April 30, 2010 at 9:00 am with No Comments »
April 30, 2010 9:59 am

Re: “Cities have valid concerns about rail bypass” (editorial, 4-29).

Railroad crossings are dangerous when people do stupid things and break the law, but let’s put things into perspective. A train going 20 mph can be just as deadly as one as one moving at 79 mph. Some train crews believe that slower trains strike more cars because more drivers think they can beat the slower train.

The crossing protection is set to provide 30 seconds of warning before the train, regardless of train speed. A short passenger train going 40 mph would block a street for about 52 seconds. Most traffic lights are a longer wait.

Older-style crossing protection leaves a path for drivers to go around and get struck. Crossings can be built with four gates to completely prevent drivers from going around them, or centerline barriers can be used to do the same thing. Using state-of-the-art crossing protection will save taxpayers a lot of money compared to overpasses, and allow the project to move forward while still providing ample safety.

This project isn’t just about commuter rail or making trips shorter for Amtrak. The real reason is to reduce major delays for freight trains at the Ruston tunnel. Freight trains are important to our ports and the local economy. The cities should not hold the project hostage.

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