News


Man killed by train in Atherton

Jordan Brinkman, 33, of Walnut Creek was struck and killed by a train at Watkins Avenue in Atherton around 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

None of the 518 people on board southbound Caltrain 192 was injured, according to Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn.

Mr. Brinkman was on foot when he was struck, Ms. Dunn said.

The train was moved to the Menlo Park station so the passengers could board another train, she said. Trains do not stop in Atherton on weekdays.

Samtrans buses carried passengers between Menlo Park and Redwood City stations.

About midnight the northbound tracks were reopened for trains traveling at reduced speed.

This is the fifth fatality on the Caltrain right of way this year, Ms. Dunn said, correcting an earlier error that referred to it as the sixth. Last year there were 13 fatalities.

Comments

Posted by Greg Conlon, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 11, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Watkins intersection (grade crossing)is in my opinion one of the most dangerous on the Cal Train line from San Francisco to San Jose. It is blind in two directions, that is an auto or pedestrian can not see down the tracks without sticking themselves out into the right-of-way to see if it is safe to cross. The Atherton Town Council has indicated they will be willing to spend Town money to pay for a portion of the cost of improving the safety aspects of the Watkins intersection, the same as has been done at Fair Oaks. This would be accomplished by installing two cross-arms of each side of the tracks rather that one. Pedestrian crossing are also installed at all four entries to the tracks. Whether this would have avoided this accident is unclear. Even if not, I believe these so-called quad gates should be installed at Watkins to improve the safety aspects of this dangerous intersection the same as has been done at Fair Oaks.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Greg:

I drive through that crossing every day. I'm not sure how if people are following the rules of the road and driving on the correct side of the street how quad gates would do anything. Unless I'm misunderstanding. Are you referring to gates that lower to stop pedestrians also?


Posted by Evan Brinkman, a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Love you, buddy.


Posted by Colleen Anderson, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 11, 2014 at 8:24 pm

I am guessing because the train doesn't stop in Atherton they build up speed, and it is a great place to commit suicide. There is one place in Burlingame that a number of people have killed themselves. Now we have two people from my understanding that have kill themselves in Atherton. Looks like the word maybe getting out.


Posted by steve, a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm

So sorry to hear this. I remember Jordan well from when he was young and friends with my son. So sorry for his family.


Posted by Barb Duncan, a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm

What a tragedy. Jordan was a brilliant, beautiful person who loved politics, film, Breaking Bad, ethnic vegetarian food, his family, and friends. I'm just one of many who had no idea he was in such pain, and will always miss him, his sense of humor and his patience in explaining and fixing technology, especially computers.


Posted by Get real, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 12, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Greg get real.
Pedestrian gates at rail crossings are ridiculous. A huge waste of money.
If a person is determined to commit suicide (I have no knowledge if this was the case here) than no amount of gates will prevent him/her from doing it.
If a person is simply not paying attention than unfortunately he/she must pay the price, tragic as that may be.
No other country in the world is as paranoid as ours about "public safety". I do not believe that it is a government's job to lead people by the hand to keep them from harming themselves. We are creating a society that expects life to be foolproof and when we mess up always expect to find someone else to be responsible.
Teach your kids to grow up watching out for themselves and look where you're going.


Posted by peninsula resident, a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jul 13, 2014 at 10:22 pm

> If a person is simply not paying attention than unfortunately he/she must pay the price, tragic as that may be.

But one of the issues at Watkins is that you CAN be paying attention but still potentially "pay the price" with your life.

As previously mentioned, driving across the tracks at Watkins is blind; you effectively must have faith that the gates work flawlessly. I try checking both ways before crossing, but you have to be on the tracks to do that, which kinda defeats the purpose of checking.

Watkins is a clear, undeniable hazard.

Also, while in general I agree that there has to be some personal accountability for safety, keep in mind that Caltrain's death record is much, MUCH higher than normal, when compared to other commuter rail in the country. Caltrain's death record speaks to CALTRAIN issues.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 13, 2014 at 11:01 pm

I don't think it is fair to blame caltrain for suicides. I'm also very sorry for the loss of Mr. Brinkman. Thinks can get better. Please reach out for help if you are hurting.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 8:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The real victims in these suicides are the CalTrain engineers who can do nothing to prevent someone from stepping in front of their train and who cannot stop in time when someone does. And then they have to live with that memory for the rest of their lives.


Posted by Darryl, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm

I agree with Peter. It's unfortunate this person opted to take their own life. Do we realize the emotional damage that is done when we print "Man killed by train in Atherton". We need to re-write some of this "headlines". How would you feel if you were the engineer of this train and read that?


Posted by SteveC, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Peter, so true. The Engineers can do nothing when a person wants to end their lives in front of a train. It also effects emergency responders.

Crossing gates will do nothing to stop this. Where there is a will, there is a way.


Posted by Friend, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm

He will be missed by many.


Posted by A friend, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 8:21 am

I am deeply saddened by Jordan's death. Everyone who knew him is in a state of shock and grief. He was a beautiful person, and a wonderful friend to many when I knew him at Albany High School.

I would remind those who are leaving comments on this story that this was a real person whose death is a horrendous loss to many others. His death should not be taken as an opportunity to post your rant about government paternalism. It is not a place to write, "If a person is simply not paying attention than unfortunately he/she must pay the price." It is not a place to write "The real victims in these suicides are the CalTrain engineers." Of course you are entitled to your opinions, but there are respectful times and places to voice them, and disrespectful times and places. Please show some sensitivity before turning Jordan's death into an allegory for whatever political position you're hoping to push. If you feel deeply about government paternalism, the emotional trauma of train engineers whose trains hit suicidal people, etc., write an op-ed.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 15, 2014 at 8:36 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" It is not a place to write "The real victims in these suicides are the CalTrain engineers."

I strongly disagree - "Man killed by train in Atherton" is the title of this thread. This is a news story not an obituary. Who do you think was the other person closest to this tragic event? Who was the person who has to live with this memory?

If you feel deeply about your friend then start a new topic on that friend's life but don't try to capture this thread for your own purposes.


Posted by DRose, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 12:37 pm

DRose is a registered user.

There are many who will suffer from this tragic event. Jordan, rest in peace, will no longer. He had more empathy than any person I know.

Perhaps one could start a page on lifestorynet.com for people wanting to share their memories of Jordan. I'm so very sorry for his family and friends...


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