Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of the Menlo Park: Park Forest neighborhood, on Apr 7, 2008 at 10:23 am
Between Encinal and Glenwood,along Garwood Way, there is also no fencing. "There is no pedestrian crossing in the area," says their PR person. Are there any pedestrian crossings anywhere along the rail corridor other than at crossing streets?
Over a year ago I called for full fencing of the entire right-of-way. It wouldn't be perfect, because that's impossible, but it would be much better. I'm guessing that this is another example of waiting for the high speed train bond issue bail-out.
Without money, safety is all talk and very little action. Caltrain is a deficit operation, regardless of their claims to ever greater ridership. They are waiting for the high speed tooth fairy to bestow largesse on all their wishes and dreams.
Posted by trainlover, a resident of the Portola Valley: other neighborhood, on Apr 7, 2008 at 5:56 pm
Martin, This person clearly stepped in front of the train on his own. It would be kind of hard to miss a train and certainly in broad daylight. There is all kinds of fencing in Redwood City but all the gang bangers and bums cut through it on a routine basis. This is a constant financial issue to continually repair the fences. If someone is determined to kill themselves, no fence...barrier...or any obstruction is going to prevent them from doing whatever it takes to end their lives. I feel sorry for the poor train engineer who has to see it coming and not be able to do anything about it.
Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of the Menlo Park: Park Forest neighborhood, on Apr 8, 2008 at 12:56 pm
Trainlover, whoever you are, thank you for your thoughtful response. I suspect that our opinions on this issue are not that far apart. Yes, I agree that suicides will never be fully deterred. Even if the corridor were fully grade separated and fully fenced, unhappy people will still find a way to jump from the station platforms. However, that does not argue for abandoning fencing. Over two years ago, I wrote letters to editors advocating full fencing for the rail corridor to contain a hazardous and life-threatening activity, not unlike the barriers surrounding electric transformer stations or airports. Will it be zero-defect? No. But, there is no good reason for Caltrain not to make a maximum effort to reduce fatality numbers by inhibiting accidents and deterring (if not fully stopping) suicides.
Posted by another train lover, a resident of the Menlo Park: University Heights neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2008 at 2:51 am
I just don't think fencing is the issue in this accident. There are privacy fences on the properties along that section of track, so they would have been as likely to prevent this as any other fencing. Maybe the victim was looking for something and got confused, or maybe he was mentally ill and decided impulsively to hurt himself--the article does not say. It is a truly sad event either way. I think Martin is using this to take a cheap shot a Caltrains.