Changes underway to improve safety at deadly railroad crossing
KITCHENER -- Changes are underway at a railway crossing in Kitchener that's been the site of fatal and other serious incidents.
However, some said the changes won't be enough to stop impatient pedestrians.
Metrolinx has been making changes to the level crossing at Lancaster Street over the past few weeks and there's still work to be done.
Some people are still crossing the tracks when they shouldn't, despite bright lights, loud noises and sounds to stay back.
Metrolinx spokesperson Scott Money said the crossing at Lancaster Street is one of 12 crossings along the Kitchener line getting an upgrade.
"There's been new gates, the arms that come down are being installed with improved lights and bells," Money said.
They're also adding tactile strips to the sidewalk at each corner of the crosswalk and an enhanced train warning system.
"That's basically what detects the train coming and leaving, how to know when the arms should come down," Money said. "So, having that there allows for a more reliable and safe crossing."
People who see what happens at the crossing every day aren't convinced that the changes will be enough.
"Without a fence there to prevent people from physically coming through, they will," said Marc Laderoute, who works in the area. "It's always been, it always will be."
Laderoute said he's seen some serious incidents at the crossing. In 2019, a woman and child were seriously hurt when they were hit by a GO train. Witnesses said the lights were flashing and the crossing arms were down when it happened.
In 2013, a 76-year-old Waterloo cyclist died at the site. A witness told CTV News at the time a reversing freight train on one track was blocking the cyclist's view of Via train approaching on the other.
Laderoute said people get frustrated, especially with freight trains shuttling cars and blocking traffic multiple times a day. He said more drastic measures are needed.
"This street is immensely busy, it's one of the main arteries to get to Bridgeport from the middle of the city," he said. This is not going to get better moving forward. It will get worse, unless they install an underpass or an overpass."
Metrolinx said it's reviewing all of its level crossings. As service increases, officials said they'll make decisions on whether or not more extensive changes need to be made.
"If you're going to be crossing the tracks and thinking of rushing to beat the train, it's never a good idea, because train time is any time," Money said.
Metrolinx is wrapping the project and expect to have it done before the end of the year.