Barricades go up around south Kitchener rail crossing
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Wednesday, May 17, 2017 4:44PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 17, 2017 6:29PM EDT
Over the past week, a pedestrian rail crossing in south Kitchener has gone from an uneven passage to being filled up with asphalt to being blocked off by barricades.
Confused? So are the organizations doing the work.
It all started last Thursday, when Robert Jantzi realized that he wouldn’t be able to cross the rai line on Bleams Road with his mobility scooter.
He moved to a spot where the tracks seemed a little more level – only for him to fall out of his scooter, which then ended up on top of him. A passing truck driver and jogger helped Jantzi up, and he went to the emergency room to get himself checked out.
He called the Region of Waterloo and the City of Kitchener to complain.
By Tuesday, the crossing had been leveled out thanks to a fresh coating of asphalt. Both the region and the city denied having to anything to do with it.
Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services – which owns the Goderich-Exeter Railway, which in turn owns the tracks that cross Bleams Road – later revealed that its workers had placed the asphalt, “regardless of whose responsibility it may be” to do so.
“We are working to determine whether or not it is legal to cross the railroad tracks at this location, and if so, what party is responsible for maintenance of the crossing,” Michael E. Williams, the company’s vice-president of corporate communications, said in an email.
Wednesday morning, another wrinkle was added to the mix as the City of Kitchener erected barricades on either side of the crossing, citing safety concerns.
Jantzi is glad to see action taken to prevent other people from being hurt at the crossing, but he says he’s disappointed that he’s left with a lengthy detour.
“It’s … 15 minutes extra and when you’re on a battery-operated scooter, that 15 minutes can make a difference,” he said in an interview.
While there is a suggested detour around the barricades that doesn’t take quite so long to navigate, it ends on the opposite side of Bleams – where the sidewalk comes to an abrupt end.
With reporting by Marc Venema